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‘Safer at Work and in the Community’ Order Allows Churches, More Businesses to Open

The City of Alhambra begins testing residents for COVID-19 in front of City Hall on May 4, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase.

Location

Alhambra , CA

As the first full day of the new Health Officer Order called “Safer at Work and in the Community” went into effect Wednesday, L.A. County continued to offer grim updates on the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken in the region.

At the now thrice weekly press briefing, Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health confirmed 53 new deaths and 933 new cases in the last 24 hours.

This brings the death toll to 2,195 in the county. That death toll includes 1,166 persons who lived in congregate living settings mainly skilled nursing facilities. Of the total deaths in Los Angeles County, 93% had some underlying health condition.

Fearer also reported the 933 new cases brings the total to 48,700, which is about half of the state’s reported case total. In total, there have been 3,814 deaths statewide, which means that L.A. County leads the state with more than two-thirds of the fatalities.

Ferrer also reported that the number of health care workers who have died in L.A. County is now 30. Of that number, 22 worked in skilled nursing facilities and four at area hospitals.

The grim news aside, Ferrer offered details to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that led the way to lifting of more restrictions under the new “Safer at Work and in the Community” health order.

Under the order – which aligns with the state of California mandates – houses of worship, office worksites, in-store shopping at retail businesses,  including indoor malls and shopping centers, will be allowed to reopen, all with restrictions on the numbers of persons allowed in at any one time. Businesses, for instance, can operate at 50% capacity and houses of workshop at 25% of capacity or with a maximum of 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Pools, hot tubs and saunas in multi-unit places of residence can also reopen and political protests with a limited number of participants are also now approved. Large public and private gathering are still not permitted. Hair and nail salons and still shuttered in Los Angeles County.

At the briefing Wednesday, Ferrer said she was able to offer guidance to the supervisors on the public health situation noting that there had been a decline in daily deaths at skilled nursing facilities — seven deaths a day down from 21 each day last week — as well as general death rates. Rates of hospitalizations and positivity rates have also declined, she said.

This data helped drive the determination to seek a variance from the state on reopening some businesses and institutions, Ferrer said.

The directives on the “Safer at Work at in the Community” reopening and what it means for businesses and institutions are posted on the county website.

While offering cautious optimism on the new health order, Ferrer reminded those with underlying health conditions that the virus has not gone away and that for them “Safer at Home” may be as much a present as past consideration.

“We have a lot at stake here as we reopen,” Ferrer reminded listeners noting that face masks, avoiding large crowds and safe social distancing are still vital to quelling the spread.

“Let’s continue to do our part to continue to take care of each other,” she said.

Ferrer also urged those who might be feeling ill to be tested for the virus noting that the county sites are still in operation. Appointments are required and may be made at the L.A. County testing website.

Alhambra, which has been operating an independent testing site throughout the month of May will continue to test residents of the city until the end of the week. Tests are done by appointment only. Information may be found at the city website.  According to Department of Public Health figures, Alhambra has recorded 186 cases and eight deaths. One of the deaths, the county site reported, occurred at the Alhambra Healthcare and Wellness  Centre nursing home.

The county dashboard provides no information on cases and deaths other than raw numbers and ethnic breakdown.

For all of the county’s investigations of institutional 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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