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Going to the Rams parade? Here’s how to limit the risks associated with COVID-19

As Rams fans prepare for a parade on Wednesday to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl victory, public health officials and experts have urged people to assess their level of risk and take appropriate precautions.

Public health officials generally advise people to avoid crowds, but “there is no way to avoid crowds on a parade,” Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the UCSF. “The safest bet is to wear a mask, if you’re going to go.”

The parade will proceed from the Shrine Auditorium to the Colosseum, where a rally will take place in a plaza outside the stadium. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally states that outdoor spaces are safer than indoor spaces when interacting with people outside your household.

Los Angeles County is still considered an area of ​​high transmission for the virus, which means that, according to CDC guidelines, people can consider wearing masks outside whenever they are in close contact and supported with others – especially if they or someone in their household are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, are at higher risk of serious illness, or are immunocompromised.

With thousands of new cases reported daily in LA County, “there are bound to be infectious people out there,” Rutherford said. The UCSF epidemiologist said he would discourage anyone unvaccinated or at higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus from attending the parade.

“If you’re 80 and have diabetes and lung disease, that’s probably something to avoid,” he said. Plus, “you’ve got such a stacked squad, they’ll be back next year, I’m sure.”

As the parade takes place outdoors, “we know it’s a lower-risk event. But we also anticipate there’s a chance that people will be quite close,” said Shira Shafir, associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

“Six feet of distance really applies to people because they are breathing normally,” Shafir added. If people shout and sing, “the breath is exhaled with more force, which then requires a greater distance between individuals”.

LA County requires masks in certain outdoor settings, including at “mega events,” but officials said if hospitalizations remain at current levels, the county could relax that rule as early as Wednesday.

Public health officials have also advised people to switch to N95 respirators, KN-95 masks or surgical masks, which offer better protection than cloth masks against the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.

Shafir said attending the Rams parade is safer if parade-goers and members of their household are up to date on vaccinations – including boosters if they are eligible – and are not at risk of serious illness. .

If they haven’t had a booster, are immunocompromised or live with someone who is, or have children in their household who are too young to be vaccinated, Shafir said, “that’s probably a good idea of ​​wearing an improved mask…or just stay home and watch it on TV if possible.

“If someone is immunocompromised, it’s probably not a good time to attend a crowded event, even outdoors,” Shafir said. And as Angelenos weigh their personal risks, she said, they should also consider the possibility of a long COVID, as well as the practical challenges of not being able to work if infected.

Without specifically discussing the Super Bowl parade, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services, said generally that he thinks keeping a mask handy, getting vaccinated and trying to stay in a group with other vaccinated people can make large-scale outdoor events safer for attendees.

“I think that will help … keep people not only safe, but also safe to enjoy what I think so many people are looking forward to,” he said.

Ahead of the Super Bowl, LA County public health officials urged people to get vaccinated and beefed up against the coronavirus, take a COVID-19 test as close to the start of any gathering as possible — as well only after if they may have been exposed – and avoid any in-person celebrations if they had tested positive or fallen ill.

Health officials have also recommended that people attending large events sign up for the CA Notify app to be alerted to any exposure to COVID.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are declining in Los Angeles County, but there are still thousands of new cases reported daily and more than 2,000 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals, according to the latest available county data. . Last week, the US Department of Defense announced that it had deployed a 15-person military medical team to a hospital in West Covina to help manage the continued pressure.

Roger Sharma, president of Emanate Health, which operates Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, said his emergency department was overwhelmed amid the latest surge. Sometimes, Sharma said, the hospital would close its emergency room to new ambulances for hours at a time.

Sharma said the pressure was the result not only of a “very high number of COVID patients in hospital”, but of a growing number of people falling ill after delaying care during the pandemic, as well as shortages. of staff as workers fell ill with the coronavirus or needed to care for infected relatives.

“We always had beds,” Sharma said, “but we didn’t have staff.”

Times writer Luke Money contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.


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