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LA County And Local Cities Declare Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus

LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference Wednesday at which county officials announced they were declaring a local public health emergency. (Robert Garrova/LAist)
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Six new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified in the last 48 hours in Los Angeles County, prompting county leaders to declare a local public health emergency.

All six new cases were assumed to be linked to someone known to have been exposed, which means officials are still not aware of any community transmission in the county, L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at a mid-morning press conference. Officials would not say precisely where the cases occurred within the county.

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the declaration was being made out of an abundance of caution. The declaration allows the county to coordinate with local partners.

To prepare, the county is increasing its capacity for testing at local labs, and people who test positive will be monitored, Ferrer said.

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Meanwhile, Pasadena and Long Beach, both of which have their own health departments, have also declared local emergencies.

Orange County officials declared their own local health emergency last week after one case of the disease, now dubbed COVID-19, was confirmed. Officials there said they did so to be able to respond to any further cases "in a nimble and flexible way."