UPDATED TUESDAY AT 3 P.M. L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference today that L.A. County beaches, which have been closed since March 27, will reopen “soon.” The existing health officer order closing the beaches expires on May 15.
Ferrer said her department has been “working hard” with the mayors of beach cities and L.A. County Beaches and Harbors.
“I think we’ll have a plan that will have our beaches reopen safe,” she said.
This comes on the same day that California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement with Huntington Beach and Dana Point to reopen their beaches.
Ferrer noted that, as restrictions are being relaxed, cases will undoubtedly rise. Officials, she said, will be tracking the following key data points — among others — to avoid another outbreak:
1. Available hospital capacity
2. PPE stock for healthcare workers
3. Ability to test everyone who needs it
4. A functioning contact tracing system
5. Mortality rate by age, poverty level and race/ethnicity
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 58 new deaths and 1,313 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That’s over 700 more new cases than were reported on Monday, continuing the rollercoaster fluctuations that have been reported recently.
As she has noted previously, Ferrer said that today’s big rise could be because of a lag in weekend test results and increasing testing across the county.
To date, the county has identified 27,815 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,638 total deaths from the virus.
The director revealed that the Department of Public Health has well over 1,000 people engaged in contact tracing. “We never lost capacity here in L.A. County to do contact tracing,” she said. “We reach between 80 and 85 percent of people who test positive.”
PREVIOUSLY, MONDAY AT 2:20 P.M. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 28 new deaths and 568 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. That’s nearly 500 fewer new cases than were reported on Friday, continuing the rollercoaster fluctuations that have been reported this week.
As she has noted previously, L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that today’s big drop could be because “there’s very little testing over the weekend,” and that could mean bigger totals later this week as full-strength testing resumes.
The director then stressed that, “on average, more people die each day in L.A. County [from COVID-19] than from any other disease.”
To date, the county has identified 26,217 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,256 total deaths from the virus.
Dr. Ferrer said 172,000 people in L.A. County have been tested, and a staggering 13% of them tested positive for coronavirus. She did not explain the high percentage, but did say that among those 172,000 tests, there may have been a small number of people tested more than once.
Dr. Ferrer was vague when asked about the reopening of L.A. County’s beaches, which have been closed since March 27. That came just minutes after California Governor Gavin Newsom hinted that his controversial closure of all Orange County beaches may end this week.
Ferrer, for her part, said that the county’s beach city mayors have been working with beaches and harbors staff and have “created some documents that we are reviewing at the public health department. These are consensus documents and we think they look great.”
Ferrer said those documents “will give us the ability to have a roadmap for safely reopening county beaches here in L.A. County.” But Ferrer made no mention of any timeline for reopening L.A. County beaches.
UPDATED FRIDAY AT 2 P.M. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 62 new deaths and 1065 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. That’s nearly 300 more new cases than were reported on Thursday, continuing the rollercoaster fluctuations that have been reported this week. While Thursday’s numbers were down, there was a big increase on Wednesday.
L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that Wednesday’s big bump — over 1,500 new cases — included results from new testing in institutional settings and also a lag in test results from over the weekend, which likely accounted for the rise on that day.
To date, the county has identified 24,215 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,172 deaths from the virus.
These numbers were announced as California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday faced lawsuits and large-scale protests over his stay-at-home policies and decision to close the beaches in Orange County.