Mirroring an announcement made earlier on Wednesday by L.A. County officials, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said today that film and television production could resume “effective this Friday,” June 13.
He also indicated gyms, professional sports and other sectors could reopen as well. The county’s announcement said these openings would be allowed, assuming businesses follow the proper protocols, which will be announced tomorrow.
But, while making that happy announcement, Garcetti shed a more light on observations from L.A. county health officials over the past few days that indicate COVID-19 is beginning to pick up speed again.
The mayor noted that the effective transmission rate, or “R,” “peaked around 3 early on…but through our collective efforts we brought that down to 1.” At 1, every infected person passes the virus on to only one other person, and the number of those infected remains steady. Above 1, the number of those infected begins to rise.
But as L.A reopens, Garcetti said “county estimates indicate that it might be closer to 1.3.” That’s a more specific number than county officials were willing to venture earlier on Wednesday.
If in “two or three weeks” the city starts to see an uptick in cases, that will force the officials to, among other things, “look at the rules and regulations we are enforcing,” said Garcetti.
Last Friday Dr. Christina Ghaly, the director of Health Services for L.A. County, noted that the R number seemed to be rising slightly. Based on modeling, Ghaly warned, “The number of ICU beds may become inadequate…DHS is watching this number on a daily basis very closely.”
At Wednesday’s county briefing, Ghaly announced that the model is now “more certain” that R has “increased again slightly and is now greater than one.
“Because of this,” continued Ghaly, “the model predicts that the spread of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles County area is likely to increase gradually over time.”
The number of ICU beds, reported Ghaly, may become inadequate in the next 2-4 weeks. That’s an escalated time frame from the 4-week window she gave last Friday.
Ghaly emphasized that the department is working with hospitals across the county, both private and public, to help them surge ICU beds and allocate more PPE.
One of the most critical ways that Los Angeles contact tracing. City will bolster county efforts by redeploying 300 of it employees as “supplemental contract tracers.”
The mayor also announced that he understood coronavirus testing would be free, either through an individual’s insurance or MediCal.
This news comes after Deadline reported that Los Angeles County was placed on a state “watch list” on Monday due to concerns over a rise in the transmission rate.
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