Los Angeles City and County officials used their daily coronavirus update Monday to note that a deal has been reached to bring some 20,000 testing kits to the region but also gave more sobering numbers about the number of local cases.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health for L.A. County, said 128 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county, along with two more deaths. That brings the total number of cases in L.A. County to 536, and seven people have died. She noted that 80% of the cases are among people ages 18-65 and 42% are 18-40.
“This virus can, in fact, affect people across the board,” Ferrer stressed, and she — and other officials who were on the update — continued to hammer home the need for social distancing and self-isolation for people who have contracted the disease or believe that they might have it. She said it’s “inappropriate for people to be gathering,.” adding that it’s not a “sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t” proposition.
Multiple other local officials also spoke during the update, which again was livestreamed on Facebook, including City Council members Nury Martinez and David Ryu, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Ryu says the city and county of L.A, have struck a deal with a South Korean company to obtain thousand more testing kits for the region. “We have secured 20,000 new tests for the coronavirus, with the ability to locally run and process 5,000 of those tests by Friday,” he said. Ryu noted that the first round “will prioritize health workers and first responders.”‘
He added: “With increased testing will most likely come more positive tests. “We cannot beat a pandemic we cannot see, and we cannot better address this crisis” without more testing.
Addressing the “global bottlenecks and shortages” of needed equipment such as masks and gloves, he added, “Los Angeles is not going to wait around.”
Villanueva said the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department will provide a quarter-million protective masks to a supplier in Long Beach that will distribute them to local hospitals. The LAPD is acquiring 125,000 more, which will be available to other law enforcement agencies.
“This is a storm like we’ve never seen,” Villanueva said. “But it still is a storm, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And we will get through this.”
Earlier today, Martinez announced that the City Council has canceled its planned meeting until further notice as staff works on the logistics of holding meeting remotely during the coronavirus crisis.
The council’s committee meetings, commissions and other board meetings already had been canceled.
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