SoCal COVID Cases Continue Dropping; Free N95 Masks and Longer Paid Sick Leave

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
January 29, 2022 Updated: January 30, 2022

LOS ANGELES—As new COVID-19 cases and positivity rate continue dropping in Southern California, more programs are available for people to gain better access to testings, masks, and financial support.

On Jan. 27, Los Angeles County had 23,796 new cases reported, down from 43,091 the previous Friday, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.

To help students who are struggling academically, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a program this week to allow students to earn money by tutoring their young siblings or school-aged relatives in their household.

“The pandemic has been especially hard on young Angelenos, who faced so many disruptions to their lives and schooling,” Garcetti said in a Jan. 25 statement. “With Student 2 Student Success, we’re making sure younger students get the extra support they need, and providing our tutors with a chance to explore a future career in education or child care.”

The program will provide approximately 1,000 young Angelenos with paid work experience and job skills training, Garcetti wrote on Twitter.

Orange County has 4,751 people tested positive on Jan. 28. Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations has declined to 1,022, with 29 deaths reported, according to the county’s Health Care Agency.

During the past holiday season, county residents were struggling to find self-test kits and available testing appointments in local pharmacies and testing centers. More pop-up COVID-19 testing centers are now available for walk-ins, but some may be unlicensed and unauthorized.

Orange County’s Health Care Agency have been receiving reports about fraudulent testing operations. The agency urges the public to always ask for laboratory information and healthcare credentials when visiting a pop-up testing center.

The winter Omicron surge has also prompted state officials to take more actions to help people who are unable to work and are struggling financially due to falling ill.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators made an announcement this week again, requiring employers to offer their employees up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to support their families.

“By extending sick leave to frontline workers with COVID and providing support for California businesses, we can help protect the health of our workforce, while also ensuring that businesses and our economy are able to thrive,” the Jan. 25 announcement read.

Employees will have access to COVID-19 supplemental paid leave through Sept. 30, 2022.

California residents are also eligible for free COVID-19 at-home test kits. People who need a testing kit can order from the U.S. Postal Service website by filling in their address. Each household may receive four free at-home test kits, which are usually shipped within 7–12 days.

The state’s indoor mask mandate has been extended to Feb. 15 in order to minimize COVID-19 infections.

The federal government has launched a free mask program, giving out free N95 masks at local pharmacies and community health centers.

Alice Sun