LocationAlhambra , CA
There have been 96 new cases of coronavirus in the last 48 hours — 50 on Tuesday and 46 on Wednesday, Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health announced at the daily press briefing at the L.A. County Hall of Administration. This brings the total number of cases to 190, including the one death.
Ferrer said those numbers include the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own health departments but are working with L.A. County.
As testing abilities become more robust there will be many more confirmed cases, she said. Ferrer also stressed the importance of social distancing. It will take at least three to four weeks for the county to see any results of social distancing. She also said not to focus on the increasing numbers, but to focus on continuing social distancing in the community.
She said that long lines of people at grocery stores “jammed up next to each other – very bad idea.”
If there is an infected person in the community and not social distancing, it will continue to spread. For every positive case there could be five to 10 people they infect if they don’t practice social distancing, Ferrer estimated.
The incubation period of COVID-19 before symptoms appear could be 14 days. Someone could have become infected yesterday and not know it. They might not have symptoms until two weeks from now. This is why we must social distance for at least three to four weeks. Only then will we begin to see a see a decrease in numbers, according to Ferrer.
Ferrer said that at this point there are people in the community who are positive, but they don’t know they have COVID-19, and the public health department doesn’t know they have COVID-19. The way to get a test is the “equivalent to a provider prescription” at the moment.
At the moment, the only way to be confirmed positive is:
- Call your doctor, or 2-1-1 if you don’t have one, explain your symptoms.
- The doctor decides you should be tested.
- They collect a test sample from you.
- It is sent to the health department’s lab or private testing lab.
- The results are confirmed negative of positive.
- The lab reports the numbers to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
Just because you or someone you know is being tested does not mean it’s a positive case, and there is some confusion about this, says Ferrer.
The Health Department has been providing a of list of cities with known cases of COVID-19 over the last few days. But Ferrer sought to qualify that information.
“If you don’t see your city on [the LACDPH break down list] I hope you don’t take that as a sign as to not worry,” she said. It’s better to assume COVID-19 is in the community and to social distance to reduce the strain on the health care system.
During the question and answer portion on Tuesday, Ferrer explained why there might be confusion in official numbers.
The numbers that the public health department has at noon, are the official, confirmed positive cases as of midnight the previous night that have been reported to them.
However, with commercial labs testing, it’s possible the labs call the health care provider who took the sample from the patient, the provider call the patient, and the private lab doesn’t report the numbers in real time.
Indeed, the list can be highly unpredictable and change from day to day. On Monday, for instance, the county health department reported that there were two cases in Alhambra and none in the neighboring cities of Monterey Park or San Gabriel.
Tuesday’s list reported just one case in Alhambra but two in Monterey Park.
There are 30 cases in the unincorporated areas, cities and communities with less than 25,000 residents that are not being reflected in the LACDPH break down.
There is also confusion throughout the county about whether or not the Health Officer Order – to close establishments including gyms, bars and entertainment businesses – is a suggestion, or a direction that is enforceable by law.
Failure to comply with the order is a misdemeanor, punishable by fines and/or jail, as a separate offense for each day not in compliance. Ferrer says health inspectors are working during this time.
In closing, Ferrer acknowledged that this time of social distancing is stressful and encouraged people to keep the connections with those they love and frequently see.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health COVID-19 resources can be reached here or at 800-854-7771.
The Director of the Office of Emergency Management, Kevin McGowan, described the county’s emergency plans for allocation of resources and activation of emergency plans. The county response page has details about facilities, resources for seniors, businesses and more.
The office is also helping with those who need disaster loan assistance from the federal Small Business Administration.
McGowan closed Tuesday with a strong suggestion to extend a helping hand to those in the community who are most at risk. A neighbor over 65 might need groceries that you can get or need access to information and resources.
This is the time for “community helping community,” he said.
Supervisor Hilda Solis started her Tuesday remarks with, “Today our county is standing together, but six feet apart.”
Solis continued to give relief resources, which are listed at the bottom of the page, and encouraged grocery stores and retailers to limit sales of items to stop customers from hoarding.
On Wednesday Solis asked for donations of supplies like masks and protective wear for shelters that are providing temporary housing for those experiencing homelessness.
She encouraged residents that are experiencing food insecurity to apply for CalFresh, or food benefits, on the social services site.
On Wednesday, Debra Duardo, L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE) Superintendent of Schools, gave updates on schools, including working on supervision for students during school hours, continuing to provide meals and aiding teachers continue distance learning by packets, online or through television programming.
LACOE is working to get devices to every student so they have the ability to learn online, and are “looking for philanthropy” to help them reach that goal.
Christina Ghaly, Director of Health Services, pleaded with the public to continue to donate blood, both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Red Cross is setting up emergency donation centers across the county. Continuing to replenish the blood supply will save lives.
There is no scientific evidence that COVID-19 is transmittable through blood, she says.
Watch the recorded live stream of Tuesday here. The briefing begins about five minutes into the recording.
Watch Wednesday’s here.
More resources can be found by dialing 2-1-1, which is a 24/7 confidential help and resource line for Los Angeles County.
For info on the Department of Public Social Services, go online to their main page or call 866-613-3777. For info on being laid off, caring for someone who is sick, or not being able to work due to the coronavirus, go to their resource page here.
For all of the reporting from the Alhambra Source, go to our Stay Healthy page.