Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended to cover the next three months, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times is reporting.
The paper made clear that though there's been no official extension, Ferrer said that timeline would shorten only if there were a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand.”
“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” she was quoted as saying in the Times. But in the absence of more widely available testing, complete relaxation of social distancing directives and stay-at-home orders looked like an unlikely prospect.
It should be noted that the county has already started to ease some restrictions and reopen the local economy under a multi-step plan, in line with what's been adopted or discussed in many other communities.
“Additional restrictions may be lifted later this week to allow for reopening additional retailers for curbside pickup, select manufacturers, and additional recreational facilities,” the county said in a statement Tuesday. “Until the final stage five is reached, Health Officer Orders and directives will continue to ensure the slow of spread of COVID-19 to prevent an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases at healthcare facilities.”
Beaches are to reopen Wednesday. Officials have also lifted restrictions on hiking trails, parks and golf courses and allowed curbside pickup at some nonessential businesses.
Ferrer’s comments came shortly before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he was modifying the state’s stay-at-home orders to allow individual counties to approve the reopening of malls for curbside pickup of merchandise. The order also allows some offices to reopen where work-at-home situations are untenable, the paper said.
Still, Newsom has emphasized, “We aren’t out of the woods yet.” In L.A. County, confirmed cases and deaths have continued to rise.
The update to L.A.'s stay-at-home orders comes as officials try to strike the same balance as countless other communities: How do you restart a moribund economy, saving jobs and businesses from vanishing, without fueling spikes in COVID-19 and undoing any progress to control the pandemic?
Under a phased reopening plan the governor rolled out last week, some in-restaurant dining, car washes and malls could also be allowed to reopen in coming weeks if public health officials in a county are able to demonstrate that the spread of the virus has stabilized, testing is sufficient and so is hospital capacity.
But as the L.A. Times reported, rural counties that have seen relatively few cases are likely to be able to meet those benchmarks more quickly than urban counties.
A Times data analysis last week found most big California counties are not close to meeting Newsom’s standards, specifically the first two criteria: whether deaths have stopped in the last 14 days, and whether there is no more than one case per 10,000 residents in that same time period.
Most of California failed that test, the Times analysis found. Not a single county in Southern California or the locked-down San Francisco Bay Area qualified.
Newsom suggested Friday that the guidelines would be later modified on a statewide basis, allowing larger counties hit hardest to also progress toward some reopening.
As other California regions have seen a decline in the number of reported infections and deaths, L.A. County, California's most populous county, continues to see upticks in both categories.
Nearly 253,000 individuals of L.A. County’s 10 million residents have been checked for the virus and better than one in 10 -- more than 32,000 — have been infected.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.