COVID-19 Update: Reporting Lag Lingers, Halloween Guidance Issued

Unlike 2019's Halloween, children will not be able to trick-or-treat this year.

What at first glance appears to be a notable drop-off in newly reported cases of the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County—only 439 new cases discovered on Tuesday, Sept. 8—is actually an indication of both a reporting lag and limited testing availability over the holiday weekend.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed seven new deaths and 439 new cases of confirmed COVID-19,” the department’s Tuesday press release read. “Today’s low number of new cases and deaths reflect both a lag in reporting and less testing availability over the holiday. To date, Public Health has identified 249,241 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 6,036 deaths.”

Of those 249,241 cases countywide, 100 have been among Malibu residents. The city crossed the threshold of 100 total confirmed cases this week, with no additional deaths reported. Three Malibu residents have died due to the virus since it first struck California in March.

LA County Health this week also released guidance for celebrating Halloween this year, while the virus outbreak was still ongoing.

Traditional Halloween activities such as door-to-door trick or treating, more modern “trunk or treating,” gatherings or parties with non-household members, and “carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions” would all be banned.

“Door to door trick or treating is not allowed because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters,” the county explained.

As an alternative, LA County officials suggested, Halloween revelers may participate in an online party or contest, take part in a car parade, attend compliant Halloween movie nights or eat Halloween themed meals in outdoor restaurants. “Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations” was also a suggestion.

There was no immediate indication of how such guidance would be enforced.