UPDATED with latest: Forty-five minutes before he addressed the public on Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new “Targeted Stay at Home Order.” He then went before the public and spoke for over 30 minutes without mentioning the order.
Instead, Garcetti flooded the zone with superlatives and snappy phrases such as, “Just be smart and stay apart” and “It’s time to cancel everything.”
There’s not much new in order itself. The city has no health department of its own and has generally leaned on L.A. County’s health officials to issue guidance such as this.
Garcetti’s late Wednesday order basically parallels the “Temporary Targeted Safer At Home Order” issued by the county late last week.
In fact, KTLA 5 Morning News anchor Frank Buckley reported that the mayor’s spokesperson called the order “identical” to the county order that took effect on Monday.
"The two orders are identical, and the process of publishing the official document on our website is a formality that occurs each time the order is revised." It isn't clear why the mayor didn't mention that the city's NotifyLA system would be used to issue the updated order. 5/5
— Frank Buckley (@FrankBuckleyTV) December 3, 2020
The chief way Garcetti’s order deviates from the county’s is in the number of exceptions it provides.
The proclamation begins ominously with the words “all persons living within the City of Los Angeles are hereby ordered to remain in their homes.”
The order then goes on to list over 40 broad business categories that are exempt from the above stay-at-home language. In these are included cannabis dispensaries, liquor stores, indoor swap meets, tanning salons and massage parlors.
PREVIOUSLY AT 6 p.m.: On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pleaded with his city’s residents to “just stay home.”
As L.A. Covid-19 hospitalizations hit an all-time high and ICU beds were projected to run out in the coming weeks Garcetti said plainly, “It’s time to cancel everything.”
Garcetti admonished L.A. residents, saying: “Don’t meet up with others outside your household. Don’t host gatherings. Don’t go to gatherings. Just stay home.”
Referencing a statement this week by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Garcetti warned of “a December wave on top of a Thanksgiving wave on top of a Christmas wave.” Two of those waves might be cresting already.
On Tuesday, health officials confirmed 7,593 new infections in the county, blowing past the previous high of 6,124 seen last week. The daily test positivity rate on Wednesday was 12%, up from 7% just over one week ago. That indicates the virus is infecting more people at a faster rate than ever in L.A., even as the county is delivering more tests than ever before.
Los Angeles County Health Director barbara Ferrer reported 5987 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 414,185. There are 2,439 people hospitalized with Covid-19, the highest level of the entire pandemic.
COVID-19 Daily Update:
December 2, 2020
New Cases: 5,987 (414,185 to date)
New Deaths: 40 (7,740 to date)
Current Hospitalizations: 2,439 pic.twitter.com/wQBT0j5pFm
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 3, 2020
The hospital numbers are worrisome, given that California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that L.A. could run out of ICU stations by mid-December — see chart below. Newsom also strongly suggested some sort of stricter Stay-at-Home order would be forthcoming from the state. That looked even more likely after CA on Wednesday reported a record number of new cases what was about 1/3 higher than the previous mark set last week.
That sentiment was echoed on Wednesday by Christina Ghaly, the Los Angles Director of Health and Human Services. She said that while the local hospital system still has 963 beds available, the number of ICU beds has dwindled to 122. That’s 122 ICU beds for a county with a population of 10 million.
Staffing, not beds, is the crucial issue in the ICU. More specially-trained nurses and doctors are not easy to come by. Given the current numbers and current “tight” staffing, Ghaly said the county’s models show that, “We will have a shortage of ICU beds over the next 2-4 weeks.” An inadequate number ICU beds means that people who need critical care won’t get it, and a greater percentage of Covid-19 patients will die.
Forty new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the county on Wednesday for a total of 7,740 to date. About deaths Garcetti observed, “We know that this number is a lagging indicator, and we expect it to go up.” Earlier in the day, Ferrer said that trend had already begun.
“We’re now beginning to see a sharp increase in daily deaths,” she said. “Because we know these deaths reflect case counts from a month ago, as cases continue to increase, we should all be extremely distressed about what this means for daily deaths.”
Watch Mayor Garcetti’s speech below.
We're facing a difficult winter ahead, COVID-19 cases are rising across the country and we're at a serious juncture. Every action we take now has critical consequences. Tonight I'm briefing you on the latest on the pandemic and our response. https://t.co/nvXFHp0UMN
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 3, 2020
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