Report: LA County likely to extend lockdown through July

By Colleen Shalby | Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended for the next three months, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer acknowledged during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Ferrer said that would only change if there was a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand.”

“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” she said. But without widely available therapeutic testing for the novel coronavirus or rapid at-home tests that would allow people to test themselves daily, it seems unlikely that restrictions would be completely eased.

Ferrer made the comments as the board debated whether to extend the county’s eviction moratorium for one to three months.

The comments came shortly after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Congress that states who push too quickly to ease orders could undo progress that would trigger an outbreak.Fauci said that a 14-day decline in cases is the major checkpoint that states should be using as a guideline for reopening efforts.

In L.A. County, confirmed cases and deaths have continued to rise, even as other regions have seen a decline. However, on Wednesday, beaches in the county are set to reopen, just days after the county lifted restrictions on hiking trails, parks and golf courses and allowed curbside pickup at nonessential businesses.

But how people can use the sand will look different. Face coverings will be required when not in the water, and sunbathing won’t be allowed. Only active recreation — surfing, running, walking and swimming — will be permitted. Coolers, chairs, umbrellas and any of the other accessories that typically dots the shoreline should be left at home.

The update to L.A.’s stay-at-home orders comes as officials try to satisfy two needs: restarting the economy under a new normal while also ensuring that the resurgence in activity doesn’t upend progress in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

As other California regions have seen a decline in the number of reported infections and COVID-19-related deaths, L.A. County, the state’s most populous, continues to see growth on both fronts. The county reported Monday an additional 566 people who tested positive for the virus, and an additional 39 deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,570. L.A. County’s death count accounts for more than half of the state’s total.

Officials have noted that the numbers reported at the start of the week are typically lower, largely because testing is not at full capacity on weekends.

More than 240,000 of L.A. County’s 10 million residents have been checked for the virus and roughly 12% — more than 32,000 — have been infected. Officials have been encouraging all residents, even those without symptoms, to get tested.

Officials have said that social distancing has helped slow the spread of the virus, but also have warned that it remains contagious.

“It’s safer to stay at home. COVID-19 has not changed,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reminded residents on Monday.

Some neighboring counties that are easing restrictions also continue to see increases in cases and deaths. Riverside County, where officials voted last Friday to lift requirements for face coverings, reported 150 new cases Monday and 12 additional deaths.

In Orange County, 55 more cases were reported as the number of hospitalizations — a count that fluctuates by the day depending on how many of the county’s hospitals report statistics — hovers near 200.

Meanwhile in Santa Clara County, which was once the hottest spot for infections in the state, the number of cases has declined. Officials reported two additional cases Monday and zero deaths. Santa Clara is one of six Bay Area counties that have extended shelter-in-place orders.

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Author: Wire Services

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