The Los Angeles County Department of Health’s planned changes to its coronavirus-induced health ordinance led at least one event planner to cancel, citing a lack of resources to carry out the new mandate.

Organizers of the Antelope Valley 2021 fair, which was slated to start on October 1, announced the cancellation on Friday, September 17, saying new public health mandates would cause too many logistical problems.

County health officials planned to release the amended health order on Friday, but it had not been officially released as of 3 p.m.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, however, described the changes in detail during a live briefing on Friday. The order will require, she said, proof of vaccination to enter certain indoor commercial spaces in Los Angeles. Under the new guidelines, large outdoor concerts, sporting events and other activities of 10,000 or more people will also require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from October 7.

The updated health worker order, Ferrer said, also requires customers and employees in indoor areas of bars, nightclubs, breweries and lounges to prove verification of at least one dose of vaccination by October 7 – and a second by November 4.

Restaurants are not included in the mandate – however, officials plan to strongly recommend that they meet the requirement as well.

“Our hope is that more people will be vaccinated,” Ferrer said. “It is the most powerful tool to prevent this constant cycle of new worrisome variants.

The Antelope Valley Fair is typically held over 10 days in August, but has been moved to eight days in October to accommodate COVID-19 health and safety protocols and mandates. The event has also been scaled down to have a reduced number of vendors, exhibitors, and dealers, and the arena concert series has already been canceled.

“While our staff and volunteers have made countless changes and efforts to keep this event safe, the continued obstacles the Los Angeles County Department of Health imposes on safe outdoor events like ours force us to to make this very difficult decision, “said Antelope Valley Fair & Event The chairman of the board drew mercy.

People who have already purchased tickets will receive automatic refunds, fair officials said.

“The health and well-being of our community has been and always will be our top priority. We have carefully prepared for this year’s event with strict security protocols at the forefront of all our planning. However, these recent Los Angeles County mandates are the tipping point in terms of resources, anticipating declining attendance and other burdens that impact our ability to move forward, ”said Dan Jacobs. , CEO of Antelope Valley Fair & Event Center.

“To say we’re disappointed is an understatement. We sincerely appreciate the way our fans, sponsors, dealers, vendors, exhibitors and volunteers have supported us over the past two very tumultuous years.

Ferrer said she was surprised by the fair organizers’ decision because county health officials had indicated the fair would be exempt from the mandate due to its start date in early October.

“I don’t really know what the reason for the cancellation is, but we are happy to speak with them,” she added.

Ferrer said county officials will work with other event organizers to provide tool kits that will guide organizers through testing procedures, as well as vaccine verification and testing.

Meanwhile, county officials reported 25 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total to 25,799 since the start of the pandemic. The new 1,823 cases brought the county’s total to 1,440,721.

COVID-related hospitalizations in the county fell from 31 Thursday, according to the state’s scoreboard, to a total of 1,125. Critical care patients fell by four, to 337.

The county set up the network to offer COVID-19 vaccine boosters to eligible people, Ferrer said, adding that she was not surprised by a federal recommendation to limit recalls to older residents and those in high risk of severe illness from the virus.

Ferrer said the county has 1,300 fixed vaccine sites in its network, with the overall capacity to deliver 130,000 injections per day – and can quickly expand if necessary to 200,000 per day.

But access to booster shots is dependent on US Food and Drug Administration approvals. An FDA committee on Friday recommended that booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine be limited to people 65 years of age and older and those at particularly high risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

“The FDA has indicated over the past two weeks that it is looking for more information and more data, especially information on experiences in this country and not relying as much on experiences and data from other countries, ”Ferrer said. noted. “And we appreciate their due diligence. It gives us all a sense of security that they are looking very carefully at the evidence when making their recommendations. “

She said data from the county indicates that there are “vulnerable groups who could benefit from an additional recall.”

“We have already noted in our data as well as other national data that immunocompromised people do not show as effective a response (with vaccines),” Ferrer said. “I also showed data today that we are concerned about the elderly who are vaccinated, as they also have an increased tendency to come to the hospital after vaccination and potentially and unfortunately die. The numbers are still very low, but it does indicate that there is a higher risk in this age group. “

The county continues to struggle as it strives to improve vaccination rates among certain groups. So far, only 52% of eligible black residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and only 61% of Latino / a residents. This compares to 71% of white residents and 80% of Asians.

Ferrer noted that “further outbreaks (in COVID cases) are likely in the absence of better immunization coverage.”

County-wide, 76% of eligible residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 67% are fully immunized. Of the 10.3 million people in the county, including those 12 and under who are not eligible for injections, 65% have received at least one dose and 58% are fully immunized.

City News Service contributed to this report

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