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At Least 1 Injured At DTLA Rally Protesting Police Killing Of George Floyd

LAFD firefighters help an injured man into an ambulance, after he fell off a CHP vehicle during a protest today in downtown L.A. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Marina Peña, Chava Sanchez and Gina Pollack contributed to this story.

At least one person was injured during a protest against police brutality in downtown L.A. today, following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer yesterday in Minnesota.

The L.A. protest was scheduled for 4 p.m. today, in front of Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office, and promoted by the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter.

“We’re calling for officers who kill people to go to prison and because Jackie Lacey, the district attorney, won’t do that, she needs to be voted out," said Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

Passing cars honked in solidarity, as hundreds of protesters walked through downtown with their fists up, chanting "When We Fight, We Win" and "Jackie Lacey Must Go."

Screenshot from Black Lives Matter Facebook announcement.

Protesters eventually made their way from City Hall onto the 101 Freeway, blocking eastbound traffic.

That's when protesters surrounded a California Highway Patrol car, according to ABC7:

"As the CHP car tried to flee, a man rode on the car's hood for a few seconds, then fell off and appeared to hit his head as he fell to the ground. He then remained motionless as a crowd gathered around him."

An NBC4 chopper video shows a number of protesters climbing onto the hood of a police vehicle. The car then starts driving slowly, as people roll off – and then accelerates. ABC7 also caught the encounter, as seen in the tweet below.

LAFD paramedics were on the scene responding to injuries.

LAist visual journalist Chava Sanchez captured a photo of LAFD officers putting the man into the back of an ambulance. The man who fell off the CHP vehicle was bloody, but his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Chava said.

Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white Minnesota police officer yesterday, sparking protests across the country.

The whole encounter was recorded on video and spread on social media. According to NPR, the video shows the white officer's knee planted firmly on George Floyd's neck, as Floyd calls out for help.

Here's what the protest looked like earlier today:

Protesters in downtown L.A. today (Chava Sanchez)
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

KPCC/LAist producer Marina Peña was also on the scene. She did not see the accident happen but said the freeway was totally blocked off and police cars and paramedics were everywhere.

After the freeway accident happened, protesters made their way to the nearby Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, where organizers talked about fighting against a system that supports mass incaceration and police brutality.

A response could be heard from inside the detention center, where inmates were banging on the walls.

Earlier in the afternoon, actor and activist Kendrick Sampson spoke to the crowd, calling the system of policing in America "anti-black."

The mother of Kenneth Ross Junior, a 25-year-old black man who was killed by Gardena police in 2018, also spoke to protesters, adding that, like Floyd, her son was "killed by a white racist cop."

Other protesters noted the increased police presence at the event.

“We’re protesting the police and we’re surrounded by police and they’re here to intimidate us so we won’t do this,” said 35-year-old Black Lives Matter L.A. Organizer Tanissia Sprull. “We’re people, too, and there’s nothing wrong with being black and there’s nothing wrong with seeking justice for these families.”


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Slow-To-No Reopening For Many LA Businesses

Many L.A. retailers were slow to reopen, even after getting official permission. Those that did reopen were not greeted with a rush of customers. David Wagner/KPCC

Today was the first day in months that many retailers in L.A. County were allowed to reopen for in-store shopping. But the main commercial strip along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena was still a retail ghost town.

Nearby, however, the small family-owned soccer store ProSoccer had its open sign lit up in the window.

“I feel safe opening," general manager Lara Tatikian said. "We've been anxiously waiting for this day.”

The store is taking all the required safety precautions: masks, social distancing, limiting the number of customers in the store.

But limits were hardly necessary Wednesday morning: only two customers came in. Tatikian wasn't discouraged.

“It's not going to go back to normal anytime soon. And we want to follow all the rules and be cautious about everything. It's gonna be a slow transition, but we're just excited to be back.”


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Californians In Congress Push to Extend Census Deadlines

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

With bipartisan talks between the Republican-led Senate and the Trump administration stalled over extending the deadlines for the 2020 Census, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., says he helped introduce a new House bill Wednesday to try to get clarity about the census timeline sooner.

Gomez says he's worried that negotiations over the next relief package could spill into late June or early July, and he has been "in conversations" with counterparts in the Senate to encourage the other side of Capitol Hill to introduce a similar bill. He told NPR:

"We're running out of time. If we don't get our act together, the states are going to have some serious problems moving forward."


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LA Salon Owners Frustrated As Haircuts OK'd Throughout SoCal — But Not LA County

Some stylists, like Carmelle, have opted to defy public health orders and cut hair out of their homes. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

It is legal, once again, to get a haircut in a salon in most of Southern California. Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino counties all received permission from the state to allow hair salons and barbershops to reopen.

L.A. County has not. And salon owners like Rebecca McDonald are frustrated.

McDonald, who owns Hammer & Nails Grooming in Echo Park, already has a six-step plan for how she's going to safely reopen that she says surpasses the state's guidelines for salons:

  • Barbering chairs will be 6 feet apart
  • Clients and stylists will wear masks
  • Hair washing and blow drying will not be allowed
  • Appointment only
  • Extra cleaning
  • Temperature checks

But given that salons in neighboring counties reopened on Tuesday, McDonald worries she’s going to lose clients.

"Our customers, our loyal customers, are now traveling to Orange County or San Bernardino County for a haircut," she said.

L.A. County applied for permission from the state to reopen additional businesses, like hair salons, and should hear back soon.


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Evictions To Resume In Orange County

A form available on the Orange County Sheriff's website is a step in the eviction is a step process for landlords. (Courtesy Orange County Sheriff)

Evictions in Orange County have been stopped for two months, a grace period meant to give people struggling to pay their bills because of the coronavirus pandemic some breathing room.

Now, some of those evictions that were in progress before the pandemic began will resume.

In a statement today, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said that it plans to move forward with about 185 court-ordered evictions. Deputies with the Department's Civil Bureau will start serving eviction notices the week of June 1 and began notifying tenants yesterday to:

  • See if they are still living in the unit
  • Inform them that the court-ordered eviction is moving forward

The department noted: "Once a judge issues eviction orders, California civil code provides 180 days for the eviction to be served by law enforcement."

There are approximately 185 court-ordered evictions that were temporarily suspended when the Civil Bureau ceased activity in mid-March 2020.

The Sheriff's Department says deputies will work with renters and landlords to help prevent evicted tenants from becoming homeless during the pandemic.

The word that Orange County evictions would resume came the same day L.A. city leaders announced a plan to use $100 million in federal stimulus money to provide relief to renters.

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Having Mental Health Troubles? We’re Here To Help

(Eric Ward on Unsplash)

The coronavirus pandemic has not only sickened many, it has also drastically ramped up the stress in our lives.

Often people don’t know where to turn when they need help dealing with overwhelming sadness, anxiety or depression. Dr. Jorge Partida Del Toro, chief of psychology at the L.A. County Department of Mental Health told us:

"If you're not feeling well, you should reach out to someone, particularly when it gets to the point where this is affecting the quality of your life."

We at LAist are here for you; we've compiled a comprehensive guide to getting the mental health help you need.


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L.A. Politicians Announce $100 Million Rent Relief Measure

A large banner advertising open apartments hangs on the walls of a large multi unit apartment building in Koreatown. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

A program to provide rent relief could receive a massive infusion of cash, according to an announcement by Los Angeles city leaders today.

Under the plan, $100 million in federal stimulus dollars will flow to the city’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance Fund, a huge boost for a program that launched with just $2.2 million in funding.

City Council President Nury Martinez said at the meeting:

“This $100 million commitment is an economic lifeline we are all offering to our fellow Angelenos to help them reclaim their lives.”

Martinez added that it would be the largest relief program for renters in the country.

The program will be available to tenants who:

  • Can document their losses from COVID-19
  • And make less than 80% of their area’s median income

Payouts go directly to landlords, and will be capped at $1,000 per month and $3,000 over the life of the program. The effort is expected to launch in late June or early July, Mayor Eric Garcetti said today adding that it could help 50,000 households. The stimulus funds have to be spent by the end of the year.

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Calls For More Coronavirus Tests In Recent Deaths

Flowers for people buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

As L.A. residents have died during the pandemic, it’s been difficult for some families to know if a relative had the coronavirus, and if COVID-19 contributed to the person’s death.

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to ask the coroner to come up with a plan to offer wider coronavirus testing of people who’ve died recently -- even if the death is not under investigation by the coroner’s office.


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Former Top Huizar Aide Is Another Domino In The FBI's City Hall Corruption Probe

Los Angeles City Hall. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

George Esparza, a top deputy in the office of City Councilman Jose Huizar until the end of 2017, has agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering charge in connection to a sweeping FBI corruption investigation at Los Angeles City Hall.

Esparza is now chief of staff to Los Angeles Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo. We’ve reached out to Carillo’s office for comment.

The allegations include a stunning array of kickbacks that real estate developers would allegedly exchange for help pushing projects through City Hall including:

  • Cash bribes
  • Lavish vacations
  • A payoff to help settle a sexual harassment lawsuit
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars in casino chips

At a City Council meeting today, Mayor Eric Garcetti said:

“The indictment that came down today sickens me. Public service is an honor, and anybody who takes public service and uses that to enrich themselves bespoils this place, the people’s house … if you did anything wrong be prepared to pay the price.”


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Garcetti Wants To Use Federal Funds To Reopen LA Rec Centers for Childcare

Two children in a pre-school class at Young Horizons play with blocks while wearing facemasks. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

School may be out indefinitely for L.A. kids, but Mayor Eric Garcetti told our newsroom's local news and culture show Take Two today that he’s looking into a way to use federal funds to reopen recreation centers. The goal, he said, is to provide some kind of programming to help take care of kids during the day.

“[We’re] looking at some of the ways we can help in the summertime,” he said. “We’re hoping to have some childcare, which has always been permissible, or camps, which parents need to have – especially in low-income areas – if they’re going to get back to work.”

He framed it as an economic issue, saying that without some assistance, L.A.'s economy might continue to struggle, without a workforce that can clock back in, knowing their children are being supervised.

“Parents won’t go back to work if they’re kids can’t get back to school in some manner,” he said.

Garcetti added that the idea would need the county’s approval, as well as the passage of the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion economic stimulus package that has passed the U.S. House and currently sits in the hands of the U.S. Senate.

Take Two airs at 2 p.m. on weekdays at 89.3 KPCC.



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Prison Outbreak? Santa Barbara County Argues It Shouldn't Interfere With Reopening

Santa Barbara County excluded COVID-19 cases among prisoners at Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex so it could meet California's requirements for reopening. (Courtesy Federal Bureau of Prisons)

Santa Barbara County is known for its vineyards and stunning ocean views. It's also home to the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, which has one of the country's largest COVID-19 outbreaks in a prison. Nearly 1,000 prisoners have tested positive. Two have died.

California's governor had set clear requirements for counties to emerge from lockdown. The prison outbreak made it hard for the county to meet those standards. So local officials proposed a solution: Don't count the prisoners.

Suzanne Grimmesey, a county spokeswoman, said:

"The individuals in the Lompoc prison are not out in the community, so it's really a whole separate population."


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Going To Church And Shopping In Stores Can Resume In LA County, But There's 'A Lot At Stake'

(Josie Huang/LAist)

Los Angeles County's coronavirus task force delivered an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, including details on new reopening guidelines. Read highlights below or watch the full video above.

Los Angeles County officials reported 993 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 48,700 cases countywide. In total, 1,605 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 883 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 53 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 2,195 people.

Of the 53 people who’ve died in the past 24 hours, 35 were over 65 and, of those victims, 30 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Fourteen victims were between 41 and 65; 12 of them had underlying health conditions. Two victims were between 18 and 40; one of them had an underlying health condition.

So far, 93% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.

The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County continues to climb and now accounts for 53% of all deaths countywide. Ferrer reported that 1,166 people living at those facilities have died. Of those victims, 88% were nursing home residents.

The number of health care providers and first responders who have been infected jumped by more than 560 cases since last week, Ferrer said.

As of today, 4,861 health care workers and first responders who work in L.A. County have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Ferrer said the vast majority of cases — about 44% of all cases countywide — "are among healthcare workers from skilled nursing facilities and hospitals staff at skilled nursing facilities." Thirty health care workers have now died from COVID-19, she added.


The L.A. County Health Officer issued a revised order yesterday to align with new state reopening guidelines. That means residents can begin returning to houses and worship and in-store shopping at retail businesses that choose to reopen. That includes indoor shopping malls, flea markets and swap meets — as well as drive-in movie theaters.

The number of people allowed inside will be limited, though. Occupancy at houses of worship will be set at 25%, or a maximum of 100 people. Retail businesses, including malls and shopping centers, have been ordered to operate at 50% customer capacity.

Ferrer said the decision to lift more restrictions was guided by the progress made to flatten the curve, noting that the rates of hospitalizations, deaths and the positive cases are down. The total number of confirmed cases continues to rise, “but that's a good thing,” Ferrer said, “because it just means a lot more people are getting tested.”

But Ferrer reiterated that there’s “a lot at stake as we reopen,” and mentioned the three “cardinal rules” for everyone to follow as the recovery process moves forward:

  • Keep wearing face coverings in public and maintain six feet of distance
  • Anyone who is showing symptoms or who tests positive should self-isolate for at least 10 days
  • Anyone who had contact with someone known to be infected should self-quarantine for 14 days (the incubation period of the virus)

“[These are] the steps that we're taking because we feel confident with all of the support that we have from our communities that we can in fact you know move forward on a recovery journey aligned with the state,” Ferrer said.

She provided one scenario for what could happen if we’re not careful:

“If there are 2 million more people going to offices, stores and houses of worship now, and even 2% are infected with COVID-19, we would have 40,000 people moving about that are capable of spreading this virus. And if each infected person transmits to even just one other person, there could be 80,000 people infected over a couple of weeks. And if we assume that 5% of people who are infected with COVID-19 may need to be hospitalized, that would be 4,000 additional folks that would need a hospital bed without taking a lot of care to make sure infected people do not infect others, we could easily get to a place where the hospitals are overwhelmed.”


Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 2,024 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 17% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 40% Latino [Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 29% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

Here are some other key figures being reported today:

  • More than 517,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and had their results reported to L.A. county health officials. Of those tests, 8% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,477 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 27% are in the ICU, with 19% on ventilators. Ferrer noted officials continue to see “slight decreases in the number of people that are hospitalized.”
  • In total 6,283 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents about 13% of all positive cases.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 440 institutional facilities where there's at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Those sites include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, treatment centers, supportive living, and correctional facilities. Ferrer said there are 11,772 confirmed cases in those facilities — 7,492 residents and 4,280 staff members.
  • Ferrer said 363 cases have been confirmed among L.A. County residents experiencing homelessness — 181 of whom were sheltered, Ferrer said.
  • There have now been 779 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 607 inmates and 172 staff members have tested positive.

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SpaceX And NASA's Historic Launch Day Is Delayed By Weather

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Bad weather has pushed back SpaceX plans to make history today by launching two astronauts into orbit, bound for the International Space Station.

The launch was scrubbed thanks to tropical storm Bertha, which created "unfavorable weather in the flight path," according to a SpaceX tweet.

It would have marked the first human space mission from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program was retired a decade ago — and the first-ever astronaut launch by a private company.

The next window for launch is Saturday at 12:33 p.m. Pacific Time.

When it does takeoff, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule will be carrying veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a Falcon 9 rocket on what is technically a demonstration flight. Once launched, the spacecraft will orbit Earth with Hurley and Benhken testing flight capabilities of the spaceship, although it is designed to fly itself and autonomously dock with the space station.

NASA officials said the weather forecast was 60% favorable as of Tuesday morning for the scheduled launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A NASA blog reported that the Behnken and Hurley were aboard the capsule and ready to go earlier today, prior to weather delaying the operation. Today's launch had been scheduled for 1:33 p.m. Pacific time.


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LA County Releases Framework For Reopening Schools


A task force of school district leaders from around Los Angeles County has just released a framework for reopening campuses.

The guidelines are just that – guidelines, not directives or orders. Ultimately, it's up to each of the 80 school districts in L.A. County to use the framework as they see fit as they each make their decisions about when and how to reopen.

Still, the framework paints a picture of school environments that could look very different from what we are used to, with screenings before boarding school buses, outdoor classes, "floor markings to illustrate social/physical distancing," students placed in "small, 'stable'" groups, classrooms with 16 students at most, staggered schedules – including lunch and recess, and face coverings for everyone.

"LACOE is committed to the reopening of our schools, and we're going to ensure that we do everything possible to maintain safety and a strong educational program throughout LA County," county superintendent of schools Debra Duardo explained in a video introducing the documents.

Here are some highlights from the five focus areas:

  • Instruction: The framework offers three options: face-to-face (either one-on-one, or in a socially distanced classroom), hybrid learning (a mix of face-to-face and distance learning), and continuing with distance learning.
  • Health and Safety: Aside from maintaining 6 feet of social distancing, the framework also suggests districts consider requiring face masks, installing additional hand-washing stations, placing students in small, "stable" groups, and serving meals in a "non-congregate" — maybe even grab-and-go — way.
  • Social and Emotional: The framework suggests dedicating "significant time and resources upon school return to process and debrief the event," and offering mental health screenings.
  • Family and Community Engagement: Aside from bringing families into the decision-making process, the framework also recommends providing families with information about food and government assistance, as well as identifying the needs of vulnerable students.
  • Operations: The framework recommends districts consider identifying a single entry point for schools, to make sure everyone who comes is screened. It also proposes making hallways and staircases one-way to facilitate social distancing, removing and storing "extra furniture and materials from existing classrooms" to make more space wherever possible, and considering installing outdoor tents and establishing an "isolation room" for students or staff who may be sick. It also recommends frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

L.A. County school officials have scheduled a 10 a.m. briefing to discuss the framework.

At the state level, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is expected to provide an update at 9:30 a.m., and in yesterday's update, Governor Gavin Newsom promised his office will also issue "further guidelines" for schools, summer camps, and child care today.



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A Valley Nurse's Family Loses Two Members to Coronavirus In A Matter Of Days

Arlene Aquino is flanked by her mother, Josie, left, daughter Ivy, right, and son, Adrian. (Courtesy of the Aquino Family)

Arlene Aquino would take great pains to sanitize herself after a day of working as a nurse in Panorama City. She would change her scrubs, come home through a side door and head for the shower, all in hopes of keeping her family safe.

But she still got sick from COVID-19. So did her parents, who lived with her in Arleta, and her two kids.

Earlier this month, her father died. Arlene Aquino died last Sunday. Her mom is fighting for her life on a ventilator.

Now Aquino's two children are facing a future without the most important people in their lives.


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Idling RVs Get Put To Good Use As Digs For Frontline Workers

Nurse practitioner Chris Negrete, his wife Megan and their kids in front of an RV loaned to them by strangers as part of RV for MDs. (Courtesy of Megan Negrete)

Music festivals? Road trips? Excursions to that favorite campgroud? All that stuff might be off the table thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean RVs have to gather dust in the driveway.

Launched in late March, RVs4MDs has matched 1,460 frontline healthcare workers with loaned RVs, so they can quarantine while staying close to their families.

"We weren't going to be using it," says one participant, Chris Elliott of Woodland Hills, who provided his RV. "It just seemed the only logical thing to do."


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Morning Briefing: Grasping At Normalcy

Strawberry season in California. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

As the Golden State reopens in fits and starts, certain businesses and industries are becoming flash points. First, it was beaches. Now, it appears to be hair salons and barbershops.

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that some counties in the state can begin to reopen those personal grooming services, but noted that L.A. County specifically was not among them. And yet, we know that the hair-conscious among us have already begun to get trims on the sly, and that people feel very strongly about being able to tend to their manes.

In the grand scheme of things, these are low stakes issues over which to pick a fight. But when nothing is normal, grasping at long-lost routines starts to make a lot more sense.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 27

Some house-bound RV owners, unable to go on road trips, are finding new ways to help out frontline workers. Stephanie O'Neill reports.

California elected officials are worried about the impacts of the coronavirus on housing, reports Aaron Mendelson. Politicians, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have said they don't want real estate speculators and large corporate landlords to swoop in and drive down homeownership.

Citing concerns about grieving families uncertain about whether the coronavirus played a role in a loved one's death, Supervisor Hilda Solis asked her colleagues Tuesday to consider more testing for COVID-19 by the coroner's office. Sharon McNary has more.

Robert Garrova has your no-panic guide to mental health resources in L.A.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now 46,018 coronavirus cases and 2,116 deaths in L.A. County, and at least 96,594 cases and 3,767 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are more than 5.5 million cases and over 350,000 deaths.

Supporting L.A.’s Communities: A new UCLA study finds broad support for transgender troops among active-duty personnel. L.A. County will soon have an inspector general to oversee nursing homes. L.A. County leaders approved a plan to create a “Slow Streets” program for unincorporated communities.

Reopening California: Barbershops and hair salons can reopen in counties that have received a variance — but that doesn't include L.A. County. Retail stores in L.A. that show they have adopted the county’s safety protocols, however, can begin reopening for in-person shopping.

Testing L.A.: Dodger Stadium is now the largest drive-thru coronavirus testing site in L.A., with a capacity to test as many as 6,000 people a day. At Farmer John, a meat processing plant in Vernon, the number of COVID-19 cases is 153 and rising.

#MeToo Meets Criminal Minds: A state agency alleges that the CBS show, Criminal Minds, for years employed and protected a cinematographer accused of multiple instances of sexual groping.

Stay Busy: This short workweek’s best non-events include a new dramatic miniseries from Nat Geo, musicians coming together to honor Peggy Lee's centennial, Atlas Obscura and more.

Your Moment Of Zen

This is one of the most quintessential L.A. scenes I've come across in a while. It could be so many intersections in so many neighborhoods, and it's the type of view we probably all saw almost every day in our cars, once upon a time.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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