VIRUS STATUS (WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW) --Mayor Garcetti announced via Facebook Live on Sunday that he would be issuing an executive order to close Los Angeles entertainment venues, bars, movie theaters, nightclubs, and gyms through March 31.
Restaurants will be excluded from the closures, open only for delivery and takeout. The closures went into effect as of midnight Sunday, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Epidemiologists and public health experts refer to the cautionary measures as “flattening the curve.” This move is in addition to previous measures, including school closures, cancellations or rescheduling of large public gatherings, and a shut-down of almost all TV and film productions.
What we need to do in the next couple of weeks -- of listening to that social distancing, of saying no to that trip, of that gathering, or just putting things off -- means the difference between whether this is weeks or months. It’s not just about you. It’s about your loved ones. It’s about your parents and your grandparents. It’s about senior neighbors that you have It’s about those we know who are being treated for cancer, or underlying conditions. You will save their lives by what you do right now. -- Mayor Eric Garcetti
Also on Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested non-mandatory closure of bars, wineries, and nightclubs. The governor also asked residents 65+, as well as those with chronic health conditions, to stay indoors. He recommended restaurants seat patrons to half capacity, with tables six feet apart.
“We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety-inducing, but we recognize what the science bears out and... we need to meet this moment head-on and lean in,” -- Gov. Newsom
As of Sunday, there have been 335 recorded cases in the state, a 14% increase since the prior day. There have been 6 deaths in the state. In Los Angeles County, there have been 15 new cases reported on Sunday, 5 of which are hospitalized. The total of cases to date in L.A. County are 69, 10 of which are considered “community transmission,” which means the patient had not travelled to an area with widespread transmission or been in contact with someone diagnosed.
While we wait for the availability of expanded testing and a possible vaccine, the CDC and other health organizations, recommend slowing the spread of the virus or “flattening the curve” of transmission. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced a guideline Sunday to cancel all large gatherings of over 50 people.
Epidemiologists across the globe recommend both hygiene practices (such as hand washing) and social distancing, as well as expanded testing to identify sick patients to limit the spread. Following these practices at earlier stages in the outbreak will mean limiting the number of cases, as well as the number of deaths. Waiting out the virus will lead to an escalation of cases and a lack of medical resources, as experienced in Italy.
Avoiding large crowds, self-quarantining after travel or exposure, and when we experience any symptoms are essential. It’s necessary to make lifestyle adjustments, which may include working remotely when possible.
Because people can be contagious while asymptomatic, it’s also important to stay away from vulnerable populations who would be under increasing danger if they develop Coronavirus, including those over 60-65 or those who are immuno-compromised.
Now more than ever, we need to support our communities, whether that means staying away from those who are vulnerable to serious health consequences, checking in on neighbors, friends or family members, and avoiding large crowds.
School Closures in Los Angeles Area
Los Angeles Unified School District will close for two weeks starting Monday, March 16. The district will keep open 40 resource centers to provide supervisions and meals for students who do not have access to nutrition at home. Instruction will be conducted online with PBS providing classes on television.
The University of Southern California announced online classes will continue until after spring recess from March 22-29. UCLA will suspend in person classes when possible to switch to an online format through at least April 10, the end of the second week of the spring quarter.
As we navigate the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), CityWatch will be sharing updates, including changing policies and recommendations,, information about testing, and updates in the city, county, and state.
We want to hear from you. Share your experiences and tips for working remotely, helping kids and teens adjust to remote schooling, self-quarantine, and more.
(Beth Cone Kramer is a professional writer and covers The Resistance and other important and topical issues for CityWatch.)