Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that the city’s COVID-19 threat meter is “on the border of going to red,” the highest level, which would mean a complete shutdown in L.A. owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let me tell you the bad news,” Garcetti said. “We’ve never had as many people [in L.A.] infected, or infectious. We’ve never had as many recorded positive cases each day, and we’ve never had as many people in the hospital as there are tonight as I speak to you.”
As of now, Garcetti said during his daily press briefing, the threat level remains at “orange” even as California Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier Monday ordered all counties to close indoor operations for their restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, zoos and bars as cases continued to spike in the state, forcing a return to more restrictive safer-at-home orders.
Additionally, said Newsom, L.A. and 31 other counties on the state’s monitoring list must close fitness centers, places of worship, nail and hair salons and indoor malls.
Garcetti, who called Newsom’s actions to scale back the right move, said those measures are effective immediately in L.A. “Do not host a party, do not attend a gathering, don’t treat this as a normal summer break,” Garcetti said. “This virus is not taking the summer off, and we can’t afford to either.”
“I know how tough this is on business owners, employees and the general public,” said the mayor. He later reminded residents that this country has endured world wars and the horror of slavery before saying, that this crisis pales in comparison.
“We can make this small sacrifice,” encouraged Garcetti. “We can wear a mask. We can clean our hands. We can keep 6 feet between us.”
“And in doing so,” he went on, “we can accelerate the day forward when we are back at school, and our economy is roaring back and we can rebuild our prosperity.”
“This city will not stop working for you,” Garcetti promised. I have no doubt that we will get through this together. But we each need to do our part.”
The city reported 964 of L.A. County’s 2,593 COVID-19 new cases today with a notable jump in cases for ages 18-40 — 50% of new cases and the highest number of infections among any age group. He said the infection rate — or R — has risen from 1.01 late last week to about 1.14 today.
There now is a record-high total of 2,103 hospitalizations in the county, with 766 beds left. Monday saw an increase to 565 ICU patients compared with 397 a month ago, Garcetti said. There are currently 141 ICU beds remaining in the greater Los Angeles area. The number of available ICU beds seems to have grown — from Friday — even as the number of people occupying them has grown. This, one assumes, means some of the region’s surge bed inventory has been pressed into service.
The county now has 136,129 confirmed COVID-19 cases — the 20th-most of any country and more than all of Canada. The death toll countywide is 3,822, with 13 new deaths reported countywide today.
Garcetti announced an increase of tests, from 80,000 last week to 100,000 this week. That’s a 20 percent surge, but that’s in a county that has 10 million residents.
Watch Garcetti’s news conference below.