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L.A. County Defines Recovery Benchmarks; Air Force Thunderbirds Flyover Salutes Frontline Workers

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flyover Southern California in a salute to COVID-19 frontline workers, May 15, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase.


Alhambra , CA

About 45 minutes after Board of Supervisor Chair Kathryn Barger thanked military in advance of Saturday’s National Armed Forces Day, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds blazed over the City of Alhambra’s Main Street in their flyover of Southern California to thank COVID-19 frontline workers.

On social media, photos and videos of flyovers across the U.S. are marked with the hashtag, #InThisTogether, and that is the message L.A. County was reinforcing at its press briefing Friday.

With most businesses able to operate with modifications, county residents are leaving their homes more often.

County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the measurements of how successful, and quickly, the county is moving through the pandemic will be judged from a public health perspective, countywide.

The more testing done, the more cases will be found – and this is a good thing for the county, Ferrer said. The easiest way to manage a pandemic is to identify those who are sick earlier for treatment, quarantine their contacts and try to slow the spread of the virus.

While the county is still reporting daily case and death tolls, Ferrer said the county is measuring the seriousness of the spread not in terms of cases, but in health care supply benchmarks.

She did say that at the beginning of the pandemic the infection was spreading to three new cases per one confirmed case, and now, the cases are spreading at a one-to-one pace.

The Department of Public Health will monitor the capability of slowing the spread and the effectiveness of preventing the spread, which will in turn dictate how the county moves through the roadmap to recovery. They will dictate how and when to modify restrictions on the further opening of businesses.

The county will unveil a recovery dashboard to show the assessment of these benchmarks:

  • How capable are we of slowing the spread of COVID-19?
    • Do we have everything in place to do that?
  • How effective are we at preventing the spread?
    • Are the actions we are taking continuing to work?

The capability is measured in five categories across the county:

  • At least 10% of the total ICU beds must be available
  • At least 20% of ventilators must be available
  • At least 60% of hospitals must have at least 15-days’ supply of PPE
  • Maintain the capability to follow investigations of 90% of new cases within one day of reporting
  • Offer at least 15,000 tests per day

The current capability of the county was not defined in Ferrer’s presentation.

The effectiveness is measured in four categories:

  • The average daily deaths have stabilized or decreased for 14 days
  • The average daily hospitalizations have stabilized or decreased for 3 days
  • Disproportionate deaths by poverty/race to stabilize or decrease, showing the actions being taken aren’t adversely affecting low-income/minority populations
  • The county will have offered testing for all staff/residents of at least 90% of skilled nursing facilities

Ferrer reminded those listening to the briefing that with more people out and about, the possibility increases for the virus to spread rapidly and it is important to continue to try to stay home, especially if you have an underlying health condition that affects your immune system.

If you are in a high-risk category, Ferrer strongly suggested to have a health provider, and if you do not have one, call 2-1-1 so the county can connect you with one.

The county is trying to help residents get online during the pandemic. They have launched an internet locator website that will let you search for internet-related services like free wifi spots including libraries or parks and internet providers in the area. The closest free wifi spot to the City of Alhambra is identified at the county library in San Gabriel.

If you don’t have access to internet to look-up the locations, you can call 2-1-1.

The county reported 47 deaths Friday, bringing the total to 1,755. Of those who died of COVID-19, 92% had underlying health conditions, and 40% of that 92% were under the age of 65, Ferrer reported.

Deaths in institutional settings are now 51% of all deaths, the majority of them skilled nursing facilities. Ferrer tried to assure families the county was doing everything it could to keep the residents and employees in these settings as safe as they knew how, and that the county is doing a new round of inspections on these congregate facilities.

The county has reported 282,000 people tested, with 11% positive, totaling 36,259 – 962 in the last 24 hours.

The City of Alhambra sent a reminder via press release that the COVID-19 testing at City Hall will only be open for another two weeks, through May 29.

Alhambra residents who are low-income and symptomatic or subject to a mandatory quarantine for being a close contact to a confirmed positive case, with more than seven days remaining of their quarantine, are eligible for testing.

These requirements are more restrictive than the county’s testing criteria, which also include asymptomatic people in high-risk categories like the elderly, essential workers and those with underlying health conditions – the county testing site will take appointments for these additional groups.

The city testing page answers frequently asked questions and allows you to sign up for a test.

For all of the county’s investigations of institutional settings, go to their locations page. For more detailed statistics and data, go to their COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard.

Want to help?

Need help?

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health page.

For all of the reporting from the Alhambra Source, go to our Stay Healthy page.

The Los Angeles County COVID-19 press briefing is streamed online at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, on the L.A. County Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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