LA County Cautions Residents To Stay Home And Continue Distancing Even As Businesses Reopen
As Los Angeles County enters the second of its five-stage plan for reopening, officials are urging residents to continue adhering to public health guidance by practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public and generally staying home as much as possible.
"As we begin this journey of recovery, some of us will be going back to work, and some of us will just be out and around more people. But that doesn't mean that we're now living in a post COVID-19 world," said county public health director Barbara Ferrer.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can still spread easily, Ferrer said, and even those who are asymptomatic can transmit the disease. The incubation period can be as long as 14 days, creating a lag between any new infections and when public health officials become aware of them and respond.
"So as we reopen, it's likely — because more people are about — that there can be more spread of the infection, but we may not see information to tell us that this is happening for a few weeks. So we are going to need to spend some time gathering information every day over many weeks to see what the impact is of having more and more people out and about in our community."
Imagine 1 million people who had been sheltering mostly at home suddenly going out in public and mixing with others who had been ignoring the Safer at Home rules. If even 5% of those people became infected, that would be 50,000 additional cases. And if even 5% of the infected also require hospitalization, that's 2,500 people — more than the 2,000 hospital beds available on average each day in L.A. County, she said.
Ferrer urged the public to continue staying at home as much as possible, ordering online rather than going to a store if they're comfortable with that method, wearing masks in public, and above all practicing physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
Ferrer also noted that many Buddhists will be celebrating Vesak, but she reminded everyone that gatherings are still not allowed.
Ferrer reported 51 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,367.
She also reported 815 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 29,427 cases countywide. That total includes 791 cases reported in Long Beach and 501 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).
Of the 51 people who’ve died in the past 24 hours, 42 were over 65 and, of those victims, 32 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Six people were between 41 and 65 and three of them had underlying health conditions. One younger person between 18 and 40, also with underlying health conditions, also died.
So far, 92% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. About 19% of all cases have resulted in hospitalization.
Ferrer also provided a demographic breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information for 1,309 of the victims. According to the latest available information:
- 12% African American [9% of county residents]
- 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
- 38% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents ]
- 28% 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
L.A. County now has results back on more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests, with 12% returning positive.
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This first step toward reopening "doesn't mean that we're now living in a post COVID-19 world," said L.A. County's public health director.