Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

Los Angeles County officials said Friday they were exploring the idea of individual cities in the county of Los Angeles opening on individualized schedules.

During the county’s daily briefing, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said several cities have approached her to discuss ways to open their economies if they could demonstrate success meeting certain benchmarks.

“Many of us have seen different areas across California that had begun to slowly reopen. Last week Governor Newsom introduced guidance to county governments on the variance to stage two of California’s roadmap to modify the stay at home orders,” she said. “By doing so, the Governor is allowing counties that have met certain benchmarks to move to the next stage, reopening business to avoid devastating delays. This effort acknowledges and appreciates the diversity of California.”

She said that Los Angeles County is equally diverse with communities that are as urban and rural as the entire state.

“I think it’s important for cities to be able to meet their own benchmarks and safely reopen, so they are not dependent only on the county,” she said. “The cities of Santa Clarita, Lancaster, and Palmdale, have approached me to discuss how they can meet the benchmark criteria. I have asked County Council and the Department of Public Health to provide an analysis on any variances that would enable cities, if possible, in Los Angeles County to meet their own benchmarks and move to the next state of recovery.”

However, she said any reopening in any location would be dependent on the health criteria and measurements.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county would be launching its new recovery dashboard this week to track various measurements that will factor into any additional reopening discussions.

“On our website, this dashboard tracks our current status on important data indicators, which assesses our progress on continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in LA County. We’re using this information to guide us on how and when it’s sensible to relax additional restrictions so that we can reopen businesses across the entire county.”

The county will track five measurements related to slowing the spread of the disease, including the number of ICU beds available, the number of available ventilators, the amount of protective equipment stockpiled in hospitals, the number of referred cases that receive follow ups within one day of reporting and the ability to test 15,000 people per day.

If the data shows capacity for care is stable, the county will also look at the mortality rate, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 and testing in nursing homes.

Ferrer said residents eager to get outside should maintain a sense of caution, particularly residents with a health condition.

“More people are going to be out of their houses now that we’re in the early stages of our recovery journey. And this means that there’s a possibility that infections can spread more rapidly. So if you do have an underlying health condition includes chronic lung disease, asthma, a serious heart condition, HIV or another condition that could affect your immune system. It is important that you continue to do your best to stay at home as much as possible.”

She said even healthy people should continue to maintain their distance from other people in public spaces and everyone should continue to use masks.

The county has confirmed 47 new deaths and 962 new cases of COVID-19. Thirty-seven people who died were over the age of 65 years old and five people who died were between the ages of 41 to 65 years old. Thirty-two people had underlying health conditions including 30 people over the age of 65 years old and two people between the ages of 41 to 65 years old. Five deaths were reported by the city of Long Beach.

The city of Santa Monica has 224 confirmed cases with 14 deaths.

editor@smdp.com

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