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Why LA County Hasn't Declared a Local Emergency Over Coronavirus 

Protective face masks are being used to ward off the coronavirus. (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Several counties in California — including Orange County — have made local emergency declarations in response to the coronavirus threat.

So why hasn’t L.A. County done the same?

For one, some counties have made their declarations just to keep people on their toes and increase awareness and preparedness.

L.A. County’s top health official say they've been ramping up coronavirus precautions for weeks now. (Translation: So far, they’ve gotten out ahead of it.)

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And just because officials haven’t sounded the alarm doesn’t mean they won’t. Especially since proclaiming a local emergency or local health emergency makes it easier to access state and federal disaster relief programs.

“It’s an important administrative step,” said Helen Chavez, Associate Director of the L.A. County Office of Emergency Management. “However, we don’t want the public to unnecessarily feel panic or alarm.”

As of today, there’s only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in L.A. County. Chavez says officials are looking at what might be needed for future response and recovery support from outside the county.

If the county’s health officer or other qualified official makes an emergency proclamation for L.A., the County Board of Supervisors would need to ratify it within seven days and then review it every 30 days.