Photo by Kit Karzen.

Los Angeles County officials are praising efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus as key public health metrics show improvement.

Efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus have worked so far and county officials said Thursday that continued adherence to the safety protocols will be important as the county moves towards more economic activity.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said the county is moving to safely reopen the economy because so many people are struggling financially.

“I’ve heard from so many workers and small businesses who have seen their pocketbooks and savings devastated,” she said.

She said county officials are keenly aware that the virus remains prevalent in the community and that while returning to business as usually will be impossible, reopening can be done safely.

“That means continuing our safety measures and implementing new rules on how to conduct business safely,” she said. “Face coverings are mandatory throughout L.A. County wherever and whenever you’re outside and physical distancing must be continued. How quickly we reopen is all up to us, but economic recovery cannot come at the expense of more lives, especially when we consider that our communities of color are disproportionately impacted by this virus.”

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the evidence showed fewer people were being infected and credited that to efforts such as staying home, physical distancing and wearing a mask.

“We continue to be moving in the right direction,” she said. “Our seven day average of deaths per day is decreasing and this is true for most groups of people.”

She said deaths per day has dropped 12% week to week to an average of 37.

“A three day average for the number of people who are positive for COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized is also decreasing,” she said. “Our current three day average for current hospitalizations per day is 1,532. And this is a 15% decrease from the prior three day average.”

Ferrer said county hospitals had enough capacity to handle patients and while equipment levels were not as high as they should be, the supply of equipment was adequate.

“All of this, the progress we’ve made in slowing the spread, the reduction in the average daily deaths and hospitalizations and retaining capacity in our healthcare system, this lets us know that the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices made by all of you are working as a community, we’ve done this together,” she said.

Ferrer said it will take two to three weeks to see how actions taken today are impacting the recovery numbers but everyone is beholden to do what they can to keep others safe.

“So as more businesses and public spaces are open, as individuals and institutions, we do need to take care of each other by continuing to practice physical distancing wearing our cloth face coverings and following all of the directives for creating as much safety as possible,” she said. “Employers will be taking care of their employees and their customers, employees are taking actions to care for each other and the people who come into their businesses, customers, need to be attentive to their role in protecting all of our employees at the businesses we are visiting.”

To date, L.A. County has confirmed 46 new deaths and 1,204 new cases of coronavirus.

Santa Monica had 244 cases and 15 deaths.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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