LA County Officially Extends Safer at Home Order Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer

Public Health director Barbara Ferrer announced the news Friday during a COVID-19 press briefing.

Los Angeles County has officially extended the Safer at Home order through May 15, the L.A. County Department of Public Health revealed Friday at a press briefing held at the Board of Supervisors headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles.

The decision to extend is the result of an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. In accordance with the order, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that people must continue to remain indoors except for essential activities such as grocery shopping, obtaining medical supplies and exercising. Social distancing guidelines remain in place. All non-essential businesses will remain closed, along with beaches, walking trails and parks. 

The extension of the order also requires that residents wear face coverings when in public and "while we're engaged with other people in public and private settings." Meanwhile, all essential businesses must provide cloth masks to employees to wear while they are performing work duties, and, in addition, they must provide plans for social distancing and cleaning. 

Ferrer was quick to point out that the extension comes not because these measures are not working but rather the opposite — these guidelines are working, and the curve is flattening across California, which was one of the first states to implement strict guidelines. 

Ferrer also emphasized that the incubation period is 14 days and that many people who exhibit symptoms do not know how they have become exposed to the virus. She revealed that, since her most recent briefing, there have been an additional 18 new deaths in the county. 

As of this story, there are more than 7,955 reported coronavirus cases in L.A. County and more than 233 deaths. There are currently 1,331 people hospitalized in the county with COVID-19, with 40 percent in intensive care and 31 percent intubated. 

"I appreciate that for many of us, this announcement is causing a significant amount of stress," said Ferrer. "Many of you were hoping that we would lift guidelines by the end of April. I'm just as sad as you are that this is not the time to lift. We are, in fact, seeing a flattening of the curve in a way that is saving lives and allowing us to have a chance at making sure our health-care system can serve all those who need our care."

Chris Gardner contributed to this report.