Elected leaders and public health officials are considering instituting a curfew and implementing other restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus transmission they say surged in Los Angeles County over the weekend.
The L.A. Times reports that the county Department of Public Health is expected to pitch a series of strict recommendations to the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors this week. According to the outlet, “officials are still pleading with the public to voluntarily take the proper precautions in the hopes that more rules won’t be necessary.” Those safeguards include wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, and limiting interactions with people outside of one’s household.
“Unless Angelenos do their part, our hospitals will reach a breaking point and will be forced to make difficult decisions,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement on Sunday.
A fresh surge of coronavirus cases has alarmed Los Angeles County officials, who say they may consider imposing a curfew https://t.co/N1SnVykiOi
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 16, 2020
L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a progressive Democrat, said a curfew could serve as an alternative to other measures that might present more significant financial challenges for businesses.
“After people drink for a while, perhaps they lose inhibition and judgment and so possibly a curfew might help,” said Kuehl, a former child actor who once starred on ‘The Dobie Gillis Show,’ a sitcom that aired on CBS from 1959-1963.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director who does not have a medical degree, said authorities are also considering reducing occupancy levels at indoor workplaces and stepping up enforcement of local orders.
“I think it makes sense to do everything we can to encourage people not to be out and about, not to be mingling with others,” Ferrer said. “And if we can’t make those choices ourselves, you’re forced to sort of look at, structurally, how do you make it harder for people to intermingle, particularly in activities where we know there’s going to be spread.”
“I can’t stress enough that what you do in your private and personal life, you then take to a worksite and vice-versa,” she said.
As the L.A. Times reports:
New cases topped 3,000 for two consecutive days over the weekend. County public health officials recorded 3,780 new cases of the virus Saturday, the highest one-day total since the peak of the crisis in mid-July. On Sunday, officials reported 3,061 new cases and three deaths. …
The seven-day average of new cases has nearly doubled in recent weeks, with the county reporting about 2,371.9 new cases each day over the last week compared with 1,241.9 cases two weeks before that, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.
Although hospitalizations haven’t reached the level seen during the summer, when there were more than 2,220 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals, the number has shot up from a low of 687 in late September to 1,049 patients as of Saturday, raising concerns the increase could outpace the number of available intensive care beds.
This is the line for Covid testing at Dodger Stadium. Today. November 11. pic.twitter.com/wTWZlDWBe2
— Jason Berger (@jayberger) November 12, 2020
While L.A. County remains in the strictest tier of California’s reopening plan, the Times notes that officials relaxed some of those restrictions over the last couple of months, such as allowing hair salons to open for indoor operations under certain conditions. The countywide increase in COVID-19 transmission could cause authorities to re-evaluate those decisions and tighten the rules again.
“I think it’s sounding an alarm for all of us,” said L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who served as Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration. “We don’t want to go back. We don’t want to have to shut everything down but if we don’t have cooperation, that’s where we’re headed.”
Los Angeles is the nation’s most populated county, with more than ten million residents.
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