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Aided By A $6.7 Million PPP Loan, LACMA Plans To Reopen In July

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LACMA is planning to reopen sometime in July. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art now says it will reopen next month with its entire staff intact, thanks to a substantial government loan.

LACMA, which receives about 40% of its operating budget from the County of Los Angeles, secured a $6.7 million loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Michael Govan, LACMA's director, told us that without that loan:

"We would have had to furlough or reduce staff. It's done exactly what it was intended to do — it's kept everybody working. We have a lot of [employees] who are young and have families to support."

The museum has 476 employees, and about a dozen of them are paid directly by the county. The federal loan money can only be used on salaries for employees not covered by the county.

The announcement that the museum has not, at least for now, reducing its workforce is in stark contrast to what's happened due to the pandemic at some other leading cultural institutions. The -Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for example, have had to cancel entire seasons and lay off or furlough scores of employees.

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Investigation: Are Cops Breaking Their Own Rules On 'Rubber Bullets'?

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A police officer aims a projectile weapon at protesters who gathered in a call for justice for George Floyd following his death, outside the 3rd Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

With terms like “foam,” “sponge” and “bean bag,” the projectiles used by police in response to recent protests may sound harmless. They’re not.

"On day one of training, they tell you, 'Don't shoot anywhere near the head or neck,'" says Charlie Mesloh, a certified instructor on the use of police projectiles and a professor at Northern Michigan University. "That's considered deadly force."

Yet in a joint investigation into law enforcement actions at protests across the country after George Floyd’s death in police custody, KHN and USA TODAY found that some officers appear to have violated their department’s own rules when they fired “less lethal” projectiles at protesters who were for the most part peacefully assembled.

Critics have assailed those tactics as civil rights and First Amendment violations, and three federal judges have ordered temporary restrictions on their use.

At least 60 protesters sustained serious head injuries, including a broken jaw, traumatic brain injuries and blindness, based on news reports, interviews with victims and witnesses and a list compiled by Scott Reynhout, a Los Angeles researcher.

Photos and videos posted on social media show protesters with large bruises or deep gashes on the throat, hands, arms, legs, chest, rib cage and stomach, all caused by what law enforcement calls “kinetic impact projectiles” and bystanders call “rubber bullets.”

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Community Transmission Of COVID-19 Is Rising In LA County, Health Director Says

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Los Angeles County's coronavirus task force delivered its now weekly update on the COVID-19 pandemic (happening every Monday at 1 p.m., unless otherwise noted). Read highlights below or watch the full video above.

Los Angeles County officials reported 2,571 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 85,942 cases countywide. In total, 2,982 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 1,162 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said today marks the third day in the past week with over 2,000 new cases during a single day.

“While some of this may be due to lags in reporting, the numbers do tell us that we're seeing an increase in community transmission,” Ferrer said. She explained further:

"Our current daily rate of positivity, which we calculate by using a seven-day average of the daily positivity rate, is 8.4%... For comparison, our seven-day average of the daily positivity rate was 5.8% on June 12, and that was just 10 days ago. Throughout our recovery journey we have said it's likely that the number of cases will increase as more people are out of their homes and around other people. Now it's going to be very important to watch how this increase in cases translates into our daily hospitalizations."

Of the new cases, 40% are of people between the ages of 18 and 40, Ferrer said.

"While many of us are done with this virus, unfortunately, this virus is not done with us," she said.

Ferrer also reported 18 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 3,137 people.

So far, 94% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said, and reiterated that L.A. County residents with existing health issues should stay home as much as possible as more and more businesses and spaces reopen.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROTESTS?

Ferrer said, given the high number of cases, health officials have not been able to say for sure if a protest was the "exact source of an exposure," but noted that it is "highly likely" people contracted the virus while attending demonstrations.

KEEPING AN EYE ON HOSPITALIZATIONS

Christina Ghaly, who oversees the county's Department of Health Services, presented projections on how the county's hospital system is managing the pandemic.

The number of new COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization has remained constant for several weeks, she said, though available ICU beds are more limited. Ghaly explained:

"The number of ICU beds is somewhat more limited in part... because of our increased need to take care of patients who are showing up for care who have conditions and illnesses and injuries, other than COVID-19."

SURVEY SAYS...

Ferrer presented the results of the most recent survey from USC's Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, which paints a picture of how L.A. County residents' behaviors have changed as stay-at-home orders have relaxed.

(Courtesy Los Angeles County)
(Courtesy Los Angeles County)
(Courtesy Los Angeles County )

FERRER RESPONDS TO THREATS AGAINST HER AND OTHER HEALTH OFFICIALS

In a statement released late this morning, Ferrer acknowledged death threats and other messages of violence directed at her and other public health officials around the country. She said the first one she noticed was after a Facebook live video briefing last month, when someone suggested she should be shot. Ferrer said:

“I didn’t immediately see the message, but my husband did, my children did, and so did my colleagues. One reason I handle these briefings myself is to shield the extraordinary team at L.A. County Public Health from these attacks which have been going on, via emails, public postings, and letters — since March. It is deeply worrisome to imagine that our hardworking infectious disease physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and environmental health specialists or any of our other team members would have to face this level of hatred.”

Some public health officials, including the now-former chief health officer for Orange County, have quit in the face of threats over local health orders, including face covering requirements.

BY THE NUMBERS

The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 1,650 residents at those facilities have died, and over 90% lived in nursing homes.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 2,918 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 42% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 11% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 17% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 29% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • “Slightly less than” 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified with another race or ethnicity

Here are some other key figures being reported today:

  • More than 960,000 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 1,453 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 28% are in the ICU, with 19% on ventilators.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 540 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 17,736 confirmed cases in those facilities — 11,201 residents and 6,535 staff members.
  • Ferrer said 571 cases have been confirmed among homeless people in L.A. County — 231 of whom were sheltered, Ferrer said.
  • There have now been 1,075 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 790 inmates and 285 staff members have tested positive.

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MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

Adelanto Detainees Protested A Lockdown — Out Came The Pepper Spray

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This outdoor recreation area serves the general population at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Detention Facility in Adelanto.(File photo by Maya Sugarman/KPCC)

Over the weekend, I spoke with multiple sources about peaceful protests gone awry when officers at ICE's Adelanto immigrant detention facility in San Bernardino County deployed pepper spray and pepper balls.

In a phone call, one detainee told me:

“That’s when I went into my room and started throwing up, and my eyes were burning. That night was crazy. I couldn’t see. My whole body was burning. I had to get up a few times and throw water on my body. We coughed the whole night.”

ICE has acknowledged the incident, but says force was justified. Attorneys and detainees tell another story, which includes several days of unwarranted, near 24-hour lockdowns.

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Newsom Coronavirus Update: Positivity Rate Up To 4.8%, LA County Has 'Very High' Number Of Cases

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Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's response to coronavirus. You can read highlights below or watch the full press conference above.

CALIFORNIA ASSISTING 11 COUNTIES, INCLUDING L.A. COUNTY

The number of counties receiving tehnical assistance from the state due to increased coronavirus concern is down to 11 from 13 last week, Newsom said.

Los Angeles County remains on the watchlist thanks to the county's case rate per 100,000 residents, California Health And Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said. L.A. County has 171.9 positive cases per 100,000 residents — the benchmark for getting off the list is below 25 per 100,000. Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been added to the list after previously not being on the list.

Ghaly described L.A. County's case rate as "very high." He said that the state plans to share this list with the public every Monday.

REDUCING CORONAVIRUS EXPOSURE AS WE REOPEN

Newsom defended the state's decision to continue reopening, citing factors including 5.7 million residents having filed for unemployment, the inability to get preventative care, unemployment rates being at the highest rate since the Great Depression, and social health factors (such as poverty) needing to be considered.

A slide from Gov. Newsom showing how COVID-19 spreads. (Courtesy Gov. Newsom's office)

Without wearing face coverings and limiting exposure, a COVID-19-positive person can infect 2.5 people in five days, which leads to more than 400 ultimately being infected in 30 days, Ghaly noted. Measures to reduce exposure include:

  • wearing face coverings
  • physically distancing
  • staying at home as much as possible
  • practicing good hand hygiene and washing your hands
  • staying home while sick
  • socially distancing from other people in yoursehold when sick
  • staying home if you are 65 or older or have underlying medical conditions
  • answering a call from contact tracers

With 50% less exposure, 1.25 people get infected in five days, ultimately leading to 15 infections in 30 days. With 75% less exposure, only 0.625 people get infected in five days, with the disease spreading to just 2.5 people in 30 days.

Newsom stressed that it's up to individuals whether the state needs to "toggle back" on stay-at-home orders. But, he said, being more thoughtful and following state guidelines can keep that from happening. He asked people to report restaurants that aren't following state requirements. As far as enforcement, Newsom said the state is relying on local governments for enforcement.

A slide showing how droplets spread COVID-19. (Courtesy Gov. Newsom's office)

The governor addressed the state's face covering requirement. He noted that:

  • breathing can send droplets 4.5 feet
  • coughing 6 feet
  • sneezing up to 26 feet

Newsom noted that ex-governors have been advising him while dealing with the coronavirus: two Democrats, two Republicans. He shared the video he recorded with those former governors:

CORONAVIRUS POSITIVITY RATE UP 0.3% IN LAST WEEK

Over the last 14 days, California has reported 35.6% of all coronavirus cases thus far, Newsom noted: 46,735 cases. There were 4,230 new positives Sunday, and 4,515 on Saturday — a record for the state.

"Those that suggest we're out of the woods, those that suggest this somehow is going to disappear, these numbers tell a very, very different and sobering story," Newsom said.

A slide from Gov. Newsom showing the total COVID-19 tests thus far vs. the positivity rate. (Courtesy Gov. Newsom's office)

The governor noted that while more testing means more positive cases, the positivity rate has also risen — from a 14-day average of 4.5% on June 14 to 4.8% on June 21. However, many of those being tested now are either asymptomatic or presymptomatic, while earlier testing focused on those with symptoms.

The state has hit a record number of tests conducted: more than 92,000 on Sunday. There were 85,000 tests done Saturday, 79,000 tests on Friday.

There were 20 deaths due to coronavirus yesterday, Newsom said.

CORONAVIRUS HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE UP 16%

There has also been a 16% increase in hospitalizations over the last 14 days. There were 3,702 hospitalizations as of Sunday, up from 3,103 a week earlier and 3,184 two weeks earlier.

ICU patients have also increased by 11% over the past 14 days. That's 1,199 currently, 1,053 a week earlier, and 1,079 the week before that.

California's health care system has the capacity to address the increase, Newsom noted. The state currently has 73,867 hospital beds, with 52,745 surge beds. The state is using 7% of its capacity, Newsom said, up from 6% last week. The ICU capacity went from 28% to 29% being used, with 4,120 ICU beds available, along with 11,627 ventilators.

There have been 31 counties on-boarded in the state's contact tracing program, with 20 counties in-process, Ghaly said. The state still aims to hit 10,000 contact tracers by July 1, and plans to go farther as cases increase.

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Beutner Urges Caution In Calls To Abolish School Police

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With the L.A. Unified School District board scheduled on Tuesday to consider three resolutions that would reexamine the L.A. School Police, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner on Monday urged caution in moving forward with growing calls to dismantle the force.

While Beutner has said that school police funding will be examined as the district remakes its budget, he said in his weekly video address that "before one rushes to judgment on this issue, it's important to look carefully at the lived experience in schools in the communities we serve."

"Those looking for a simple answer will be disappointed because it does not exist," he said.

Beutner's remarks indicated that the superintendent continues to support the presence of police on campuses. He noted that "school staff of all types have been victims of assault at schools," and that while "Black students are disproportionately represented in arrests ... they are also disproportionately the victims of crimes in schools."

He added:
"Those who want to abolish school police must provide a reasoned answer how the threats of mass violence and incidences of serious crime will be handled at schools. And they need to explain to those who are in favor of school police why campuses will be safer in their absence. And those who think it’s just fine the way things are must provide a reasoned answer to students who feel the stigma of an armed presence on campus."
The district also announced on Monday that a nine-member task force including educators, former public defenders and prosecutors, and public policy experts has been convened to assess "the training, practices, policies and budget of the Los Angeles School Police." The panel will meet twice a week and is expected to deliver preliminary recommendations by August and a full report by the end of the year.

Morning Briefing: A Father’s Day Reckoning

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Champion Mackey, 7, is the son of the lead organizer of the Father's Day weekend march through Crenshaw. (Josie Huang/LAist)

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

This Father’s Day was bittersweet for some L.A. families, as they reeled from recent violence or reckoned with a society that has foisted violence upon them.

At a march on Sunday to protest the recent death of his 18-year-old son at the hands of an L.A. Sheriff’s deputy, Christopher Guardado thanked protesters in Spanish and English, adding that he couldn’t say much more because, “I’m feeling really bad to talk, you know?”

The day before, a group of Black fathers marched through Crenshaw in support of Black Lives Matter. Rondell Eskridge, a youth pastor and father to an eight-month-old son, told Josie Huang he was there to create a better future.

"It's my job as a father to provide and to protect my son, and what do you do when you cannot do that?” he said. “You feel hopeless as a man, right? So that's why we're out here."

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, June 22

In recent days, L.A. city leaders have introduced a range of motions aimed at curbing violence and racial bias in policing and calls to police. Libby Denkmann provides a rundown and explanation.

Emily Guerin spends some time at a San Bernardino cafe to see whether customers are complying with the state's new mask requirement, and what it's like to be a business owner trying to enforce the rules.

Drop in virtually for a 24-hour Global Queer Read-In, attend a bicycle repair workshop, take a road trip to a drive-in for a double feature, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

LAist contributing photographer Bumdog Torres shoots portraits of the unhoused residents of Fairfax Boulevard and its alleyways, in part three of his series profiling people experiencing homelessness in L.A.

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The Past 48 Hours In LA

Protests In L.A.: It was another weekend of protests in L.A. — Venice, Inglewood, Los Feliz, Compton and many more. Black dads held a Father’s Day march through Crenshaw in support of Black Lives Matter, and to push for a better future for their sons.

The Monuments Are Coming Down: A group of Native/Indigenous activists tore down the Olvera Street statue of Father Junipero Serra, who founded the California mission system with the goal of converting Native people "at all costs."

#JusticeForAndresGuardado: The family of Andres Guardado, who was killed by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy last week while working as a security guard at an auto body shop, is demanding an investigation. Dozens of people marched three miles to the Compton sheriff's station to protest Guardado’s killing.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County released new COVID-19 numbers today; 11 new deaths, 1,784 new cases. Small business owners are doing their best to enforce rules requiring masks but sometimes it gets awkward.

Neon, Fireworks And The Salton Sea: The iconic neon sign from the Silver Lake Circus of Books is being restored and preserved by the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale. It marks the first LBGTQ piece of history in the collection. It's officially summer in L.A. and the fireworks are going offfff. If you were close enough to the Coachella Valley to get a strong whiff of rotten eggs, we can tell you why: the Salton Sea.

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Photo Of The Day

Anthony Lee Pittman, an artist from Compton, marches down Compton Blvd. with an American Flag he painted during the march for Andres Guardado.

(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

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