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LA Sends Emergency Alert On Coronavirus; 1 Positive Case Among Homeless

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tonight used what may have been his strongest language yet to urge people to heed his stay-at-home orders. And then the city punctuated that message with an exclamation point: a piercing emergency alert sent just moments after his nightly address.

"These aren't suggestions, I remind you, these are orders. We are in the midst of a pandemic," Garcetti said.

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Los Angeles sent an emergency alert on Friday, Mar. 27, 2020 to remind people that the "Safer at Home" order was still in place as the coronavirus pandemic continues. (Screenshot via Megan Erwin/KPCC/LAist)
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The emergency alert urged people to continue staying home this weekend. It reminded everyone to only go out for essential activities. [Garcetti pointed residents to a list at coronavirus.lacity.org.]

Those stern reminders come after many people flocked to beaches and parks last weekend, despite pleas to keep at least six feet of distance from each other to slow the spread of this new coronavirus. City and county agencies then spent much of the week shutting down public areas to limit the chance that large crowds of people can further spread the virus.

Tonight, Garcetti also announced the first known case of COVID-19 in a homeless person in L.A. The homeless individual who tested positive is now isolated, and the city is doing contact tracing to find out where the person has been, Garcetti said.

Concern has been high about the spread of the highly contagious virus among the region's massive homeless population, which has sizeable number of people considered to be at high risk from COVID-19.

Here are some of the other updates Garcetti shared tonight:

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  • LA's total inventory of hospital beds is 23,000, of which only about 1,500 are free for patients
  • About 900 ventilators are available across the county
  • The city has completed more than 5,000 tests, double where we were on Tuesday, and Garcetti said he expects the number to triple by the end of next week
  • As the city ramps up testing, UPS is partnering with L.A. to pick up and deliver thousands of tests a day for free
  • As of today, all public trials and trailheads in the city are closed, and at Griffith Park the Vermont Avenue and Ferndale Drive entrances are closed
  • The city council is voting to require all retail food stores to dedicate one hour in the morning exclusively to seniors and the disabled

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