Los Angeles issues stay-at-home order as coronavirus rises

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles County announced a new stay-at-home order on Friday as coronavirus cases spiraled out of control in the nation’s most populous county.The three-week order takes effect Monday. This came as the county of 10 million people confirmed 24 new deaths and 4,544 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The county had set a threshold for issuing the stay-at-home order: an average of 4,500 cases per day over a five-day period, but did not expect to reach that level until next month.

However, the five-day average of new cases reported on Friday was 4,751.

“We know that we ask a lot from so many people who have been sacrificing themselves for months,” said Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. “Acting with collective urgency now is essential if we are to stop this wave”.

The ordinance advises residents to stay home “as much as possible” and cover their faces when they go out. It prohibits people from meeting with other people who are not in their homes, whether in public or private.

However, exceptions are made for religious services and demonstrations, “which are constitutionally protected rights,” the county’s public health department said in a statement.

Retail businesses, which make a large portion of their profits during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, are allowed to remain open but with limited capacity, including nail salons and other personal care services.

County restaurants have recently been banned from dining in person. They can still offer pickup, delivery and take out services.

Beaches, trails and parks will remain open, with safety requirements.

The order, which runs until December 20, is more modest than a statewide shutdown order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom in mid-March. This order closed schools and most businesses and severely restricted movement except for essential workers or to perform essential tasks such as grocery shopping or picking up medicine.

The restrictions have reportedly slowed the spread of COVID-9 and some restrictions have been relaxed, but the workload has picked up again in the summer and in recent weeks has reached record levels in most states – as well as most states nationwide . .

The number of daily cases in California has set records in recent days. Hospitalizations statewide have increased by more than 80% in the past two weeks. Nearly 2,000 people in the county are now hospitalized and the new ordinance is part of an effort to keep the county’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, public health officials are bracing for a surge of cases that could follow Thanksgiving gatherings. Officials say it typically takes two to three weeks for such severe cases to develop, but about 12% of those infected could end up hospitalized.

Despite its reputation for sprawl, Los Angeles has some of the densest neighborhoods in the U.S. Many of these areas have multigenerational households where workers who don’t have the luxury of working remotely are exposed to the virus on the job or in public transport and spread. to family members.

The number of cases in these communities has been higher and the virus has disproportionately affected more Latinos and blacks.

With infections getting out of hand, other options for public officials to take are even more expensive and unlikely to be adopted in the United States, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California at San Francisco.

China, for example, has tested millions of people and imposed quarantines. Italy has called on the military to impose a shutdown.

“It’s hard to imagine how far you can go in a company like ours,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?” You want people to obey it, but you don’t want to make it so drastic that people are trying to find solutions all the time. ”

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