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L.A. County Health Officer Order Gives OK to Dining in Restaurants, Haircuts

A screen capture of the Facebook Live online streaming of the L.A. County daily press briefing, on May 29, 2020. Director of LACDPH Barbara Ferrer gives the status update.

Location

Alhambra , CA

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is issuing a new step in the May 26 “Safer at Work and in the Community” order, allowing sit-down dining in restaurants and hair salons to operate with social distancing and proper infection control measures.

“This order goes in effect today,” County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

When the Health Officer Order is posted businesses can view it and download the protocols from the public health website to complete the checklists for reopening and begin operation.

Ferrer said the department has created diagrams of examples of social distancing in small spaces and the protocols are “good tools.”

But with much of the county possibly moving in a burst of activity after months of a dormant economy, it’s hard to police every business.

“It’s like the honor system because we’re all in this together,” Ferrer said at the Friday press briefing. The actions the county takes now will affect the cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks and months, she reminded those listening.

Ferrer said “we have confidence in our businesses” that they will create an environment that’s safe for the employees and those accessing their services.

Like previous Health Officer Orders, this new layer adds to the previous orders’ directives, so if you’re accessing services, patronizing businesses or will be in contact with others, you need to wear a face covering.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ economic task force is working with industry leaders and small businesses to reopen other sectors across the county.

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced that four more sectors, mostly entertainment and media, are calculating their next moves and will be announcing modified business plans soon.

The county is able to take these steps forward in the reopening phases because it applied for a variance to state guidelines, which was granted. The county had to demonstrate it had controlled the spread of the virus, and is protecting residents and workers.

Department of Health Services Director Christina Ghaly said because of the incubation period of COVID-19 it’s too early to tell if the stages of the “Roadmap to Recovery” has had much effect on the public health, but she saw encouraging signs from other data.

Non-COVID-19-related hospital care has increased, meaning there are more people using the emergency room  when they need it, and Ghaly said that is a good thing. Initially, ER visits dropped as the county approached its high point in the outbreak.

Hospitals are also beginning to schedule non-essential surgeries and procedures, but Ghaly urged caution because the county still needs to maintain surge capacity, in the event that COVID-19 cases spike.

These words of encouragement from both Ghaly and Ferrer come on a day that the county reported 50 additional deaths – bringing the total to 2,290 – and 1,824 new cases, 500 of which were backlog. These 1,324 dailies and 500 backlogs bring the cases total to 51,562 cases.

Ferrer also asked that those labs that are processing tests to report the results to the county health department in a timely manner, as it is the law.

As of Friday afternoon, Alhambra has 195 confirmed cases with the county public health department and eight deaths, with 4,147 people tested.

As a county, over 564,000 people have been tested, and the positivity rate is at 8%.

Ghaly said the county health apparatus is moving into the “sustainable” emergency response phase, and some testing sites will be closing so those sites can reopen for normal activities in the road to recovery, or those who have been testing can return to their jobs in health care settings that are also beginning to mobilize. In Pasadena, the Rose Bowl testing site is scheduled to cease operations this afternoon. In Alhambra, the city’s COVID-19 testing program was also ending this afternoon.

When the county has a plan for locations closing, testing modifications and long-term implementation of COVID-19 support and access points, they will post it on the county COVID-19 website.

Testing is still available though; appointments are required and may be made at the L.A. County testing website.

The county COVID-19 surveillance dashboard provides more insight collected on race and ethnicity of deaths, income disparity and other data points.

For all of the county’s investigations of congregate settings, go to their locations page.


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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health page.

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

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