LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday confirmed 47 more deaths and 1,264 new cases of coronavirus.
To date (May 13), Public Health has identified 34,428 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,659 deaths across all areas of LA County, including 527 cases and 11 deaths in Palmdale; 438 cases and seven deaths in Lancaster; 29 cases and six deaths in Quartz Hill; 25 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 28 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and eight cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer noted that one month ago, the death toll was at 363, meaning roughly 1,300 people have died from COVID-19 in the county since mid-April.
Roughly half of the coronavirus deaths in the county have been among residents of institutional settings, the vast majority of them in skilled nursing facilities.
Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 1,529 people (99 percent of the cases); 38% of deaths occurred among Latinx residents, 29% among White residents, 18% among Asian residents, 12% among African American residents, 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races.
On Tuesday, Ferrer created a stir when she told the county Board of Supervisors that some form of public health restrictions will likely be in place at least another three months due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus.
The remark quickly made headlines and prompted groans from residents growing weary of business closures, stay-at-home orders and shuttered restaurants and bars.
But Ferrer — who has been candid for weeks about the likelihood that mandates including wearing face coverings and social distancing will remain in effect for months as the “new normal” — issued a statement later Tuesday to clarify her remarks. She did so again Wednesday, saying that while personal protective measures will remain in effect, other restrictions in the order will be loosened in the coming weeks.
“We continue to call our health officer order ‘Safer At Home’ to emphasize that all of us are still more protected when we remain home as much as possible,” she said.
She followed through on the promise that some restrictions will be relaxed, announcing that the revised order allows “all retailers” in the county to reopen for door-side or curbide pickups or deliveries. Stores that are located inside indoor shopping malls still must remain closed, but Ferrer said shops that are located in malls but have exterior entrances can open for outdoor pickups.
Also allowed to open are manufacturing and logistics companies that supply the reopening businesses.
The county on Friday, May 8, allowed selected “low-risk” retail businesses — toy stores, sporting goods stores, clothing stores, music shops and florists — to reopen with curbside pickup only. Car dealers were also permitted to reopen, as long as they adhere to sanitation and social distancing mandates.
“As a reminder, before a retail business or manufacturer or a warehouse opens, they are required to prepare, implement and post their compliance with our directives to demonstrate that they’re adhering to distancing and infection control practices that protect both employees and customers,” Ferrer said.
Those directives mandate face coverings for employees and customers, regular cleaning of “high-touch” surfaces and readily accessibility of hand- washing or sanitation stations.
Ferrer stressed that while more businesses are being allowed to open, full recovery “will be a slow journey.”
“In the last few weeks, we’ve worked together to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this will now be our new foreseeable normal in the future,” Ferrer said. ‘Everywhere we go, we will be taking protections. … This is because COVID-19 as a virus is still relatively easy to transmit, and it can cause, as I’ve noted, serious illness and death. That means that as much as possible, when you can, you ought to stay home. You ought to continue to adhere to the Safer At Home recommendations, stay with your households, there are no events or gatherings that are allowed. We ask that you help us make sure that as we are on our recovery journey, we take our steps together in a way that protects each other.”
An interactive dashboard is available that provides comprehensive information on COVID-19 cases and deaths, along with maps and graphs showing data by city and community. To view Public Health’s COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, visit: http://dashboard.publichealth.lacounty.gov/covid19_surveillance_dashboard/
UPDATE/Editor’s Note: The Lancaster coronavirus death toll was changed from eight to seven “based on further investigation,” according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website.