Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
Observer Staff Writer 

Additional Death Reported in LA County Department of Public Health News Briefing

LA County reports 40 new cases of COVID-19 today, making a total of 230 cases of Coronavirus.

 

March 21, 2020

Elaine

Early morning lines at Costco. But no toilet paper to be found.

At a streaming press conference today, LADPH Director Barbara Ferrer announced the second death to occur in the county from the COVID-19 virus. The individual reportedly lived in a small community near Pasadena. He was between 30-50 years of age and had an underlying health condition.

Ferrer had other new information to relate regarding the testing and quarantine protocols recommended to slow the spread of the virus. Ferrer made clear repeatedly throughout the press briefing that she does not believe containment is possible. All that is possible is to slow the spread, thereby avoiding overwhelming the capacity of the health care system and reducing the number of sicknesses and fatalities.

Testing capacity is still limited, Ferrer admitted, but claimed this capacity was increasing. There are now 7 labs, including private labs, which are able to complete tests to diagnose infection. The number of patients tested so far is 1700. Of those, 13 percent have tested positive for the virus.

If an individual has no symptoms, they will not be tested, said Ferrer. She also pointed out that even if someone gets tested and the test comes back negative, that only pertains to the person's status that day. The next day, anyone could potentially become infected.

Persons must self-quarantine if they have had any contact with an individual who is a confirmed case of COVID-19. The quarantine will last 14 days - even if a test comes back negative.

Kr. Kazan of the Fire Department is helping to organize possible drive-through testing in the future.

Ferrer wanted to make clear that the number of cases in the county represents only the number that have been tested and confirmed. She is certain there are many more cases than are known. For that reason, Ferrer recommends that everyone act as if they have coronavirus and act as if everyone around them has coronavirus. Maintain social (really, physical) distancing and wash your hands before touching communal objects. Ferrer pointed out that nobody has immunity to this virus, as they might have to a seasonal flu they have experienced in the past.

Mary Leipziger

Pop's Restuarant

Ferrer warned that "life is not going to return to normal after two weeks." As a public health agency, her department is planning for a worst-case scenario involving weeks or even months. However, Ferrer held out hope that if the population follows recommendations and reduces interpersonal contacts, this may shorten the time the disease spreads through the community.

Regarding the homeless population, Ferrer maintained that people are better off sheltered than unsheltered, even if that means they will be living in a communal situation. The "risk of dying of anything" is greater for people who are unsheltered versus those who have a roof over their heads - and that includes coronavirus.

So far, there are no known cases of coronavirus among the homeless, but Ferrer is certain such cases do exist and will become known.

Ferrer reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 today, making a total of 230 cases in the county.

 

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