LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County health officials confirmed 25 new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the total to 94, while the county also ordered the closure of all bars, gyms and entertainment centers and restricted restaurants to carry-out or delivery service only.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, head of the county Department of Public Health, said the agency is continuing to see an increase in “community transmission” of the illness — meaning people are contracting the virus without any known source of exposure.
“If something is not an essential activity, I urge you not to do it,” Ferrer said. “In the absence of a vaccine, social distancing is the best tool that we have.”
Of the 25 new cases, five have no known source of exposure to coronavirus, Ferrer said. One was exposed during travel to an outbreak area, one had close contact with another patient and the other 17 cases are still under investigation to determine the exposure source.
Ferrer noted that the county has confirmed 41 new cases in the last 48 hours, and 15 of its 94 cases are attributed to “community transmission.” Ferrer has repeatedly said the number of cases will continue to rise as more people are tested.
In an effort to “flatten the curve” of new cases through social distancing, the county ordered the closure of all bars, fitness centers, and entertainment centers, effective immediately. Restaurants will also no longer be able to offer sit-down service but will be restricted to takeout or delivery service.
The mandate applies to all cities within the county, as well as unincorporated areas.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday that six people in the state have died of COVID-19.
On Sunday, officials also announced that a police officer at Los Angeles International Airport tested positive. County health officials are working to identify any other officers or employees who may have had prolonged or close contact with the officer.
Two contract workers testing arriving passengers for signs of coronavirus at LAX had previously been confirmed as testing positive for the illness.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, who runs the county hospital system, asked residents to preserve emergency room capacity at all area hospitals for those in need.
“Seek care responsibly in order to not overwhelm the healthcare system,” Ghaly said.
Like many of the roughly 100 hospitals across Los Angeles County, county hospitals will be canceling elective surgeries to increase capacity. The county is also increasing access to tele-medicine services.
Los Angeles County also closed all of its buildings, including libraries and museums because of the coronavirus, Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger said. County hospitals and clinics will remain open. It’s not yet known how long the closures will remain in effect.
Barger asked everyone to check on older members of their community — while keeping a safe distance — to see if they need help accessing food or other essentials.
“Please check on your neighbors and see if they need any help,” Barger said.
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County also began scaling back its operations with a view toward establishing social distancing in all of its 38 courthouses to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
As part of the new measures, no new jurors will be summoned for any civil or criminal jury trials for the next 30 days, and the trial judge for any jury trial in session may exercise his or her discretion to either continue the trial or declare a mistrial.