Los Angeles County Health Official Identifies Key Indicator That Would Force L.A. Back To Stay-At-Home Order; It’s “On The Table”

Moments after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that 94% of the state’s population would move backward into the most restrictive tier of his reopening guidelines, L.A. County also announced increased measures.

“If you need to be indoors, this can only be done with members of your immediate family,” said County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.

“Higher risk individuals should try — when possible — to eat by themselves,” she continued, before sharing data that showed more than 6 million of L.A. County’s 10 million residents fell into the higher risk category.

“I’d like to hope we don’t go back down,” said Ferrer when asked about extreme measures, “certainly not safer-at-home orders.” She noted that in July the county was in dire straits and “we did not go back down to a safer-at-home order.”

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“We need to get back to what we know works,” she encouraged Angelenos. “We each have to do our best. And at this point, our best needs to be really, really good.”

“If we don’t get it back under control,” she warned, “we have no choice to look at restrictions where we would limit…hours of operations [among businesses].”

Asked what recommendations would be made to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Ferrer said, “Of course we’re going to put recommendations before the board about what we’re going to do if we cannot get this back under control, but we still have some days before us where we can make a change.”

But, if the healthcare system begins to become overwhelmed Ferrer said, “we’d have to look at going back to safer at home.”

“I don’t see any situation where we’d have to go back to safer at home unless we see an overwhelm of the hospital system,” she said. “But we have to leave it on the table.”

Newsom, in his presentation earlier, announced that the state was implementing previously-announced emergency plans to surge medical resources in anticipation of a surge in hospitalizations. The first region to receive this support would be hard-hit Imperial County, he said.

The state has been working in partnership with hospitals, clinics and physicians on the COVID-19 response, said a statement from the governor’s office. To support California’s health care delivery system, the state has an additional 1,872 beds available at alternate care sites outside of the system that can be made available quickly if needed to respond to a surge in cases.

If another shutdown were in the offing, Ferrer said L.A. County would progress toward it thusly:

1. First, try to do better at adhering to current restrictions

2. Enact stronger measures to keep people from intermingling

3. A “short duration” safer at home order

At hospitals, “we’ve seen a steady increase,” she observed. L.A. County’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated a rise of about 33% in virus-related patients since late October. “There is no moving forward until we get this pandemic back under control.”

Accordingly, L.A. residents must adhere strictly to the current protocols, said Ferrer.

“It is clear that we are at a very dangerous point,” she warned. “To say many lives are at risk is not an exaggeration.”

Those with underlying health conditions are not the only residents who need to pay attention.
The case rate for people aged 18-29 has more than doubled, Ferrer said. And they are infecting others.
“Young people are spreading the virus with disastrous results for the elderly.”

Even with the weekend reporting lag, the county reported 2,795 new cases on Monday. That’s after recording about 3,700 new infections on Saturday and another 3,000 or so on Sunday. Those numbers are triple the numbers L.A. County reported in the last few days of October.

“We have not reported new cases like this since July,” said Ferrer.

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