Photo by Kit Karzen.

Health departments across the country are issuing new COVID-related guidelines but Los Angeles County officials reiterated the need to get tested and quarantine if you are feeling sick.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer joined L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Pro Tem Hilda Solis for a conference Wednesday where the two discussed a number of topics ranging from a new program that seeks to address hate across the county to the recent orders issued by the state of California and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Yesterday, the state released new guidance about newly permitted activities at all schools across the state to help students at high risk and with high need,” Ferrer said. “We will need to closely review the new guidance from the state and work with the board to ensure that our health officer orders are adjusted so that when schools open for any new activities, they do so with as much safety as possible for all of the children, staff and teachers who work or come to the school buildings. Given the need to review the implications of the new state guidance on school reopening plans, at this point, we’re not ready to open up our waiver process for schools.”

Ferrer then moved to discuss the potential to get sick at protests and the CDC testing suggestions that were announced this week.

“I want to note that the LA County Department of Public Health continues to recommend that people who have been in close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, continue to get tested for the virus,” Ferrer said, detailing how some COVID carriers could be asymptomatic. “However, as a reminder, testing is just a tool to find out whether you’ve had an exposure and you’re positive… We want to remind everyone if you’ve had an exposure to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you need to quarantine for the full 14 days.”

If you become infected and you return home, Ferrer said, you may unknowingly infect other people in your life, including people who are older and people who have underlying health conditions that put them at a very high risk of becoming seriously ill or even dying from COVID-19. “If you have an underlying health condition, a serious underlying health condition, you need to take every precaution possible. If you live with somebody who has an underlying health condition, you need to take every precaution possible to protect the people you love. And if you’re a relatively healthy person, you need to understand that, unfortunately, even people without any known underlying health conditions have died from COVID-19,” Ferrer added after sharing the 58 deaths and 1,642 new cases that were reported Wednesday.

“In closing, we all have played a part in preventing COVID-19 from transmissions and we all can continue to play a part in protecting people who are at risk for serious illness or have weaker immune systems,” Ferrer said. “So, please use the tools (that) we all have available, right now, to continue to work to slow the spread of COVID-19. More than ever we need to act — not just for ourselves, but for all of our communities, our schools and our businesses — in ways that protect our collective health and our local economy.”