LocationAlhambra , CA
Los Angeles County issued a new Health Officer Order Friday that will temporarily close beaches and hiking trails in an effort to enforce social distancing and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement of the new restrictions came during the county’s daily public health briefing and take place immediately. An earlier order closed parking lots at L.A. City and County beaches.
“The new Health Officer Order is in line with our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. It is crucial that we limit access to non-essential places where crowds have been gathering,” said L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
The closures came as a result of widespread reports last weekend that beaches and trails were crowded with people seeking to get outdoors as a relief from the “Safer at Home” guidelines that, while absolutely vital, are a challenge to active lifestyles.
“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “In order to save lives, beaches in L.A. County will be temporarily closed. I understand this a huge sacrifice… but we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus.”
At Friday’s briefing, Ferrer confirmed five new deaths in the county from the coronavirus and a total of 257 new cases. Over the last 48 hours there have been 678 new confirmed cases in the county.
The five new deaths were four men and a woman and all were over the age of 60.
Ferrer provided additional information on the nine deaths reported Thursday — the largest single-day death toll figure released yet. Of those nine, eight were over the age of 60 with the ninth case being a person in their 40s with underlying health issues.
To date, the public health department has identified 1,465 confirmed COVID-19 cases across Los Angeles County including Long Beach and Pasadena which have their own health departments. Twenty-six deaths have been reported.
About 21% of confirmed cases or 317 people have been hospitalized with many in intensive care.
All age groups are represented in the COVID-19 case load. The top group is the 41-65 group with 565 cases, followed by the 18 to 40 group with 547 cases. Those over 65 recorded 268 cases and the infant to 17 group had 22.
In again emphasizing the importance of social distancing, Ferrer noted that six days ago there were 409 confirmed cases in L.A. County. The total number now is 1,465 meaning the case load has tripled in less than a week.
The new restrictions on beach and trail access mean that bike and running paths as well as sand and surf access and public restrooms will be closed for the immediate future. City and County lifeguards, L.A. County sheriff’s deputies and police departments from various municipalities will attempt to enforce the order.
While beaches and hiking trails are closed, parks in the City and County of Los Angeles remain open for passive recreational activities, which apparently means no group sports.
Also Friday, Los Angeles County launched several new interactive digital dashboard connecting residents to the latest updates on COVID-19 impacts. More information on the interactive dashboards and what they are tracking may be found here.
If you know someone who is elderly and needs meal assistance, go to the county’s Workforce Development Aging and Community Services page or call 800-510-2020.
For information on food options in Alhambra and AUSD communities see our story on Alhambra Source.
Number of cases in and around the West San Gabriel Valley from Friday’s briefing
- Pasadena: 9
- Alhambra: 8
- Boyle Heights: 8
- East Los Angeles: 4
- Unincorporated East L.A.: 6
- Highland Park: 5
- Lincoln Heights: 1
- Montebello: 2
- Monterey Park: 4
- San Gabriel: 5
- South Pasadena: 3