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Mayor Garcetti Says LA's Coronavirus Numbers Are Improving, 'But Not By Big Margins'

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti opened Friday afternoon's media briefing by clarifying some major news from this week -- that California now has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, surpassing New York. The mayor said that headline is really just "clickbait," and is misleading because it's a total number of cases, not the case per capita:

"Of course we have more cases than almost any other state, because we have more people than any other state. I track carefully, more importantly, the per capita cases, how many cases per 100,000 residents. By that measure we are 24th of 50 states right now. And most public health experts agree that in many states where testing is less robust, many many cases — many more cases than here in California — are undiagnosed."

THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER, SORT OF

The mayor said that four of our six indicators for COVID-19 risk are now headed in the right direction, "but not by big margins," he added. "It's important to know that just two weeks ago, five of those six were headed in the wrong direction."

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Here are some facts and figures:

  • The transmission rate has gone down from 1.07 to about 0.94
  • The seven-day average of positive cases is 11.6%. That's down from 13.6% a week ago. "Another hopeful sign, but 11.6 is still too high, and we all need to do work to bring that down further," Garcetti said.
  • Hospitalizations are still higher than at any other point in the pandemic, however, with about 2,500 people currently receiving care. Our hospitals, though, still have capacity. While these numbers aren't going down, the mayor said, they seem to be stabilizing.
  • The color-coded COVID-19 threat level remains at Orange, as it was last week
  • Last week we had more deaths (326) than this week (264)
  • The testing turnaround time is now 23 hours, "which is something I'm very proud of in the midst of seeing test results come back in five, six, eight or nine days across the country," Garcetti said.
The mayor said he owes much of this success to Angelenos wearing masks:
"A recent study showed that some workers who wore a mask at work with over 150 co-workers, even though they didn't know they were positive, pass that on to zero workers. But when they came home and they took their masks off ... a majority of their households became infected. Simply put, masks work to protect people from those who are infected, whether they know they are or not."

REMINDERS:
  • If you get a call from the L.A. Dept. of Public Health, please answer it. It is likely a contact tracer trying to get in touch with you.
  • Parking restrictions will now remain eased until Aug 16 (meaning no tickets on street sweeping days)
  • Applicants for rental assistance will be notified next week. The city received more than 200,000 applications
  • The mayor said again to avoid people outside of your household, especially on the weekend.

REMEMBERING THE LAPD OFFICER KILLED BY COVID-19

Garcetti mourned the loss of LAPD officer Valentin Martinez, who died today from COVID-19, leaving behind his wife, who is 20 weeks pregnant.

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