'This is All About Increasing Social Distancing': L.A. County Ordered to Stay at Home
Los Angeles has enacted what city and county leaders are calling the "next steps" in the fight against the novel coronavirus. At a press conference on Thursday late afternoon, Supervisor Kathryn Barger detailed the Safer at Home Emergency Order, which will apply across Los Angeles County. Her remarks were followed by a series of statements from other public officials.
"This is all about increasing social distancing," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
People are being asked to refrain from gathering in enclosed spaces in groups of more than ten. Non-essential businesses will be closed. Non-essential workers should not go to work.
"We all know it will be temporary," said Supervisor Barger, but no specific end date was given.
"The data is crystal clear," said Garcetti. Based on testing, he explained, Los Angeles' infection trajectory resembles Italy's before the problem there escalated exponentially; overcrowded hospitals have been widely reported.
"We're trying to intervene earlier and we're trying to be one of those countries where the curve flattens," said Garcetti, referring to the effort to slow the rate of infection and avoid overwhelming the health system.
He praised the efforts of community members so far, citing the rare abundance of green that he has been seeing on Google traffic maps.
"But I don't want to sugarcoat it. Today is a day that will be seared into the story and the streets of this city. It will be a moment when everything changed."
Multiple officials stressed that citizens should not worry about shortages of food, water or other essential items, and that people can still go outside, and order food delivery and take-out.
Young people were asked to take the order seriously. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia noted that, "Young people can absolutely carry the virus to other populations and are vulnerable themselves."
As to enforcement, Garcetti said officials will proceed with a 'light touch'. "Nobody is locked down," said the mayor. "This is not shelter in place like a school shooting. This is stay at home, because you are safer there."
The first question during the Q&A that followed the statements asked for clarification.
"The goal is for people to comply with this," answered Supervisor Barger. "We're not going to have law enforcement out there arresting people, but we will have law enforcement in terms of business compliance."
The measure goes into effect at 11:59pm Thursday, and 11:59pm on Friday for businesses.
On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote a letter to President Donald Trump requesting the deployment of a naval ship off the California coast to help "decompress our current health care delivery system in Los Angeles".
"We project that roughly 56 percent of our population–25.5 million people–will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period," he wrote.
Shortly after the Los Angeles press conference, Governor Newsom issued a similar, statewide order directing residents "to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors."
The statewide order noted, however, that the Governor "may designate additional sectors as critical in order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians."
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Coronavirus Updates: California Unemployment Claims at 1.9M; L.A. Amazon Worker Contracts Covid-19; Disney Initiates Furloughs
Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.
- Amazon Warehouse Worker in L.A. Tests Positive, As Company Struggles with Covid-19
- USC Shows (and Ranks) L.A. Neighborhoods With COVID-19 Cases
- Gov. Newsom to small businesses: "Let's get ahead of the queue"
- L.A. County records 78 deaths, cases top 4,000
- Patrick Soon-Shiong wants to buy shuttered hospital, convert to COVID-19 command center
- Disney announces furloughs amid pandemic, but employees keep healthcare
At least 30 of the fulfillment centers that power Amazon's e-commerce business have outbreaks of COVID-19, according to news reports and employee accounts. The most recent case in Los Angeles was reported Wednesday, when Amazon confirmed to City News Service that an employee at their warehouse in Atwater Village has tested positive for COVID-19. The mounting cases are sparking walkouts, frustration, and an unprecedented challenge for a tech company that finds itself at the center of the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles locals have always known it is a city of neighborhoods, but this novel coronavirus has made that especially clear. The official lines on where neighborhoods begin and end, and where cases are to be found, have never seemed so murky.
On Thursday, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering released two new COVID-19 data visualizations that aim to make at least where known COVID-19 cases are being found, a little more clear.
The first is an interactive map with reported cases that's broken down by each neighborhood with accompanying statistics that tells people where cases are, how many are out there, and how their neighborhood ranks.
The visualized data is not a complete picture of all COVID-19 cases as testing has thus far been very limited. The data also doesn't break up or provide the total numbers of those tested per region.