After reporting significant impacts that COVID-19 was having on Los Angeles Police Department operations in recent weeks, Chief Michel Moore announced progress Tuesday on the number of officers who are back at work after isolating due to positive COVID-19 tests.
In the last week, 362 LAPD employees were off-duty after testing positive, while the previous week the number was at 1,333 personnel. Moore noted, however, that the decline may also be due to the department improving the process for personnel to report if they have returned to work or not.
“Much as we’ve seen in the region, our situation as far as the impact of COVID on the health and welfare of our people has continued to improve,” Moore said.
An additional 290 LAPD employees tested positive for the virus in the last week, and 132 of them had been vaccinated. The previous week, 331 department personnel tested positive, and a few weeks before that, at least 500 to 600 employees were testing positive in a single week, Moore said.
Amid earlier concerns over the virus’ impact on both the police and fire departments, Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke alongside the chiefs from the two agencies on Jan. 6 to assure the public that the departments still had adequate staffing levels to keep Angelenos safe. Moore told the Police Commission on Jan. 11 that the department was experiencing significant impacts from the virus but there were contingency plans to ensure essential patrol, investigations and 911 services continued.
The decline in COVID-19 cases is also being experienced countywide. On Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 10,715 new COVID-19 cases — although that number also reflects weekend reporting delays. On Friday, public health officials reported an additional 23,796 new positive cases. Earlier this month, the department was reporting more than 40,000 new cases per day.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus also continued to fall, reaching 8.8% as of Monday, down from 9.1% a day earlier and below the 13.2% rate a week earlier.