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As florists, golf courses and trails open across Los Angeles County today, Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer remained cautiously optimistic about moving into phase two of the area’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
As she has done the past few days, Ferrer said the easing of restrictions offers a step forward for the county but, once again, reinforces the need for personal responsibility in mask-wearing and physical distancing as residents will undoubtedly come in closer contact than they have during these past two months living under strict safer-at-home mandates.
First, though, she offered the latest case counts: 51 additional deaths for a total of 1,468 fatalities from COVID-19 illness; 883 newly diagnosed positive cases for a total case count of 30,296; 223 confirmed cases among people experiencing homelessness; 1,790 people currently hospitalized with 29 percent of patients in ICUs and 16 percent on ventilators; 713 total deaths from congregate living facilities, primarily skilled nursing homes; and 214,000 people tested thus far representing a 12 percent positive rate.
Ferrer once again spent considerable time talking about how COVID-19 illness disproportionately affects African Americans, Asians, Latinos and specifically Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander residents in the county. The statistics she provided were in line with data that she has been presenting for several weeks now, but today, she stopped short of just reporting numbers and went on to express frustration over what it means.
The figures, she said, represent how systematic injustices and institutionalized racism have plagued these communities and led to an unequal distribution of wealth and resources, a disparity that has been pushed once again into the spotlight amid the COVID-19 crisis. “Only through a collaborative approach will we see improvements,” she said, calling upon others to help address the disproportionality and come to solutions on how to fix it.
Back on the subject of reopening businesses and the economy, Ferrer said that some businesses and trails may not open right away until those locations can meet Public Health’s prerequisites and protocols as outlined on the department’s website.
Asked whether she was looking to lift health officer orders for next week on L.A. County beaches as reported elsewhere, Ferrer said it’s too early to say. “We are again watching data and paying attention to how well we all do this weekend. If things go well, we’d like to come back next week with some additional lifting of restrictions … so we can again reopen slowly and more safely at our beaches. We know people are anxious to get out to the beaches.”
While we’re on the road to recovery, #COVID19 remains the number one cause of death and the risk of getting infected remains high. Everyone, whether at work, visiting a business, or engaging in a permitted activity, should follow these practices to protect themselves & others. pic.twitter.com/d07qlGr5AF
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) May 8, 2020
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