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Halloween events prohibited by county health department

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Halloween 2020 will be a mere ghost of its former self due to a set of regulations issued by Los Angeles County Public Health on Wednesday.

Health officials are warning that Halloween traditions such as door-to-door trick-or-treating and costume parties are high risk activities that will further the spread the coronavirus. The health order prohibits gatherings or parties among people who do not live together. In addition, carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted houses are not allowed.

The order does not prohibit trick-or-treating, however, it is not recommended due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing and face coverings as well as sharing food. “Trunk-or-treating,” where children go from car to car collecting candy is also discouraged.

As an alternative, health officials suggest a costumed car parade that complies with health guidelines, drive-through haunted houses, or drive-in events where children receive a sealed commercially made treat. In all drive-in events people must remain in their vehicles. Other alternatives include drive-in movies, outdoor meals, themed art installations and decorating homes and yards.

Claremont now has 383 cumulative cases of the coronavirus including 25 in the city’s unincorporated areas. The county now reports 12 deaths in Claremont, two of which are in unincorporated neighborhoods.

There is one new institutional outbreak in Claremont at Garces Residential Care Services, where five residents have tested positive for the virus.

Cumulative cases at other Claremont institutions include Claremont Manor, with 10 staff and four residents testing positive and one death; Claremont Place, two staff and one resident; Mt. San Antonio Gardens, eight staff, 10 residents and one death; Mountain View Center, two staff, 16 residents and two deaths; Sunrise of Claremont, five residents; Western Assemblies Home, 13 staff, six residents and one death; Claremont Police Department, five employees; and Therapak, 19 employees.

The health department will be closely monitoring data over the next several weeks to determine the impact of Labor Day weekend, and they strongly encourage anyone who may have come into contact with an infected person to get tested right away. Residents may need to get tested if they were in a crowded area where people were not wearing face coverings or if someone they were around has tested positive or becomes sick.

“Just over two weeks after Independence Day, the county experienced increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. For example, the seven-day average of daily reported COVID-19 cases around July 4 was about 2,200 cases per day, but two weeks later the number of new cases increased to over 3,100,” Los Angeles County Public Health announced in a statement.

The seven-day average mortality in the county was about 30 deaths per day before the Fourth of July holiday, while 22 days later it had skyrocketed to 44 deaths.

Public Health reported 61 deaths and 671 new confirmed cases in LA County on Wednesday. The high number of new deaths are due to a backlog of reports received over the weekend, and the low number of new cases reflects reduced testing due to the excessive heat.

Since its first report in March, public health has identified 249,859 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and 6,090 deaths. Testing results are available for nearly 2,393,000 individuals with 10 percent of all people testing positive.

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