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Morning Briefing: Rising COVID-19 Cases, Crowded Beaches And Mask Makers

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Our amazing engagement team has personally answered hundreds of questions in the last week or so. Many of them are now part of our FAQs to help everyone. Our goal is to do our part to keep you safe and sane. We hope are holding up OK and feel determined to do your part to slow the spread of this pandemic. (Real talk: crowding beaches, farmers markets and hiking trails doesn’t qualify.) Got any questions we can help with? Let us know.

Meanwhile...

Here’s what we’re covering today:

  • Head to a store right now and odds are you'll have trouble finding beans. Which, honestly, kind of scares us, because it makes us think...hey maybe we're running out of beans altogether. Jacob Margolis has been digging into the bean supply chain to tell us where the hangup is.
  • With California telling non-essential businesses to close in order to fight the spread of the new coronavirus, many workers are now out of a job. But, as David Wagner will explain, some employers are on a hiring spree.

Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:

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  • Another person sick from the coronavirus died in Los Angeles County as the number of confirmed cases here surged to 409, in part a reflection of increased testing.
  • Hospital officials worry a shortage of personal protective equipment could mean their personnel may have to start using homemade masks. One hospital administrator in San Bernardino County said they were already re-using masks, saying “Things are bad.” Meanwhile, stitchers and sewers across L.A. such as Frogtown’s Suay Sew Shop are gearing up to help.
  • Another worry is staffing up to handle a surge in patients. USC's Keck School of Medicine is equipping surgical residents to step in, and on Friday it trained more than 50 of them in essential nursing skills for intensive care.
  • L.A. is closing beach parking lots and sports and recreation at city parks. Santa Monica is closing beach parking lots. Long Beachshut down sports facilities and group activities at parks. Local parkland officials are shutting trails after reports of crowding. Social distancing means 6 feet, people.
  • Federal aid is on the way after Gov. Gavin Newsom requested President Donald Trump declare a “major disaster” in the state of California.
  • As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, con artists are trying to take advantage of our coronavirus fears. Here’s what to look out for

In case you missed it:

  • Hand sanitizer is in short supply. Some local distilleries have stopped producing alcohol and are making hand sanitizer instead. They can do this because the liquor you pour in your martini and the stuff you rub on your hands have the same key ingredient: ethyl alcohol.
  • California has loosened restrictions so restaurants can sell takeout booze. But that doesn’t mean L.A. restaurants are going to jump on board. Why not? Because for many restaurants, the ability to sell carryout liquor is controlled by local government, not the state.
  • And you can catch up on the rest of Saturday’s news on our cheat sheet for that day: A Steep Learning Curve For ‘Stay At Home’

Here’s some more L.A. history for you to dig into:

Your moment of Zen

At the iconic Wiltern, on a rainy Sunday the sign offers well wishes and a look to the future.

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(Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.