Los Angeles County officials said they will have “more to say” on recovery plans later this week, but did not specify whether the county would be among the California communities that will allow some retailers to reopen for pickup as early as Friday.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county will be tracking a range of indicators as it determines when and how to relax its Safer at Home order. Coronavirus is still the leading cause of death in the county and remains unchanged in its ability to spread rapidly, she said.
Data will need to show that mortality and hospitalization rates by age, poverty level and race are remaining relatively stable before the county reopens, Ferrer said. High-risk populations will need sufficient access to testing and hospitals must have enough beds and ventilators to accommodate a surge in cases.
African Americans make up 14% of all COVID-19 deaths, despite comprising only 9% of the county population. One percent of people who have died from the virus were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, who comprise .4% of the population.
“We do need to reopen … but we have to do it in a thoughtful way,” Ferrer said. “One of the saddest things would be to reopen too quickly, see too many deaths and hospitalizations, and then have to go back and tell businesses to close again.”
Ferrer said the county has 27,815 confirmed cases and 1,313 deaths. She reported 58 new deaths Tuesday and 1,638 new cases, which she said resulted from a lag in reporting over the weekend and increased testing capacity.
About 1,780 people were hospitalized Tuesday, the fourth day in a row that the number of people hospitalized has slightly decreased, Ferrer said.
L.A. County will likely reopen more slowly and cautiously than other parts of California that have seen much fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that local officials could allow some retailers to offer curbside pickup starting Friday, but L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would likely not allow retailers to reopen later this week. In some parts of the state, businesses have already started to reopen in defiance of stay-at-home orders.
Newsom also reopened beaches in Orange County, but L.A. County beaches, including Santa Monica State Beach, will remain closed.
Five new cases were confirmed in Santa Monica Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 190. Cases have increased 22% over the last week after rising 15.5% the week before.
The number of Santa Monica residents who have died has remained at nine for a week, according to a county data dashboard.
Forty-two employees and 80 residents at four local nursing homes and an assisted living facility have tested positive for coronavirus as of Tuesday. A total of 14 deaths have been reported at Beachwood Post-Acute & Rehab, the Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica and Ocean Pointe Healthcare Center.
The Ocean Pointe outbreak has worsened in recent days, with a total of eight staff and 22 residents infected and two deaths reported.