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Updated June 6, 2020


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 56 new deaths and 1,329 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday– including 29 new cases in Boyle Heights and 47 new cases in East Los Angeles.

As of Saturday, Public Health had identified 62,338 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 2,620 deaths. Ninety-four percent of people who died had underlying health conditions.

On Saturday,  Public Health put the total of COVID-19 cases in Boyle Heights at 917 and the total in East LA at 1,287.

These are the numbers, and increases, reported in the last seven days:

SaturdayBH 917 (+29) *ELA 1,287 (+47)
FridayBH 888 (+19) *ELA 1,240 (+49)
ThursdayBH 869 (+31) *ELA 1,191 (+55)
WednesdayBH 838 (+11) *ELA 1,136 (+19)
TuesdayBH 827 (+19) *ELA 1,117 (+19)
MondayBH 808 (+11) *ELA 1,098 (+19)
SundayBH 797 (+18) *ELA 1,079 (+16)
*These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation.

On Saturday, the County’s database showed one new death in Boyle Heights but no new deaths in East Los Angeles. As of Saturday, County data showed a total of 16 deaths in Boyle Heights and 43 deaths in the neighboring unincorporated county area of East Los Angeles. 

The adjusted death rate (number of cases per 100,000 residents) is nearly twice as high in East LA than in Boyle Heights: it’s 34.33 east of Indiana and 18.42 in BH.

The data is available in the County’s  interactive dashboard  that also provides detailed information on testing, cases and deaths. 

May 29, 2020


During Friday’s update, Public Health director Barbara Ferrer gave updates on the disproportionate death rates being documented among minority groups and in the county’s poorest communities.

Ferrer provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information for 2,112 of the victims. The number of deaths given per 100,000 residents in each ethnic group were:

  • 108 – Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 28 – Black
  • 25 – Latino
  • 18 – Asian
  • 14 – White

Ferrer said the death rate in poor L.A. County communities is “alarming and growing.” 

“People who live in areas with high rates of poverty have almost four times the rate of deaths from COVID-19 — 46 per 100,000 people, compared with communities with very low poverty levels where the death rate is 12 deaths per 100,000 people,” Ferrer said.  “We must address the complex issues around these inequities with our partner departments, organizations and communities.”

May 27, 2020


Following orders announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, the City and County of Los Angeles said on Tuesday that churches, temples and other houses of worship may reopen and welcome parishioners.

A reopening order issued Tuesday by the County Health Officer and going into effect Wednesday included indoor shopping centers, flea markets, swap meets and even drive-in theaters.

The order requires that entry be limited: to 25% of occupancy and no more than 100 people in houses of worship and to 50% of occupancy at retail stores, including those at malls and shopping centers.

On Tuesday, health authorities insisted that anyone who leaves their house at this time of reopening should adhere to three “cardinal rules.” They are:

  • Keep wearing face coverings in public and maintain six feet of distance
  • Anyone who is showing symptoms or who tests positive should self-isolate for at least 10 days
  • Anyone who had contact with someone known to be infected should self-quarantine for 14 days (the incubation period of the virus)

May 27, 2020


It remained unclear Tuesday if a recent spike of coronavirus cases in the Eastside can be linked to outbreaks confirmed over the weekend at nine food processing facilities at the City of Vernon, which borders the southern edge of Boyle Heights.

The largest of the outbreaks is at the Farmer John meat packing plant, which employs many residents of Boyle Heights and other bordering communities, such as Huntington Park, Maywood and City of Commerce. On Sunday, Public Health said the number of Farmer John employees who had tested positive for the virus was 153.

The smallest incorporated city in all of California, Vernon is principally an industrial city with around 100 residents –mostly city employees. As of Tuesday, Public Health had identified only 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases among Vernon residents.

May 13, 2020


On Wednesday, Public Health officials said they will allow more types of lower-risk businesses to reopen as part of Los Angeles County’s process of recovery from the pandemic.

Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said that businesses that can reopen now include all retail businesses  “with the exception of those who are located in indoor shopping centers and malls.” Also given the green light were  “manufacturing and logistic businesses that supply the lower-risk retail businesses.

“Ferrer warned the order does not allow customers to enter stores, and businesses need to follow public health protocols designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.  “We ask that you remember — both the public and the retailers — that this is just to offer curbside, doorside, or other outdoor or outside pickup or delivery.”  

May 6, 2020


At Wednesday’s county coronavirus media briefing, Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced that certain businesses and recreational spaces, like flower shops and car dealerships and golf courses and hiking areas will reopen on Friday.

Barger said those businesses include “stores that sell toys, books, clothing, sporting goods and music,” but only for curbside pick-up of orders.

“This list is less about what products are sold and more about the ability to maintain social distancing,” the supervisor added, explaining that the easing of restrictions in L.A. County aligns with the directives at the state level. “We are finalizing the details and we’ll have all the information and guidelines for businesses up on our website before the order goes into effect.”

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that businesses partially opening on Friday will signify the county’s entering Stage 2 of a five-stage county reopening. The county is currently one Stage 1, which includes the current stay-at-home orders.

April 30, 2020


This week, Public Health began to break down coronavirus fatalities by geographical region, providing both a death count and a death rate for every Los Angeles neighborhood, every city in the county (except Long Beach and Pasadena) and every unincorporated area in Los Angeles County.

As of Wednesday, the data showed 4 deaths related to coronavirus in Boyle Heights and 16 deaths in the neighboring unincorporated county area of East Los Angeles. The death rate (number of cases per 100,000 residents) was more than three times higher in East LA than in Boyle Heights: it’s 16.14 East of Indiana and 5.31 in BH.

The data is available in a new interactive dashboard unveiled by the County on Tuesday that also provides detailed information on testing, cases and deaths. It also includes graphs that show cumulative and daily figures for confirmed cases and deaths, and information broken down by poverty level, age, gender and race. 

(The dashboard, which is slow and somewhat cumbersome to navigate, had not been updated with the latest numbers as of Thursday at 3:00 pm.)

April 27, 2020

Poverty and death

At her daily coronavirus update, Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said that county residents living in areas with high rates of poverty are dying at a rate about three times that of communities with low poverty rates. 

“This data is deeply disturbing and it speaks to the need for immediate action in communities with disproportionately high rates of death,” She said. “And this would mean increased testing, better access and connection to health care and support services, and more accurate culturally appropriate information about COVID-19, and we’re joining with our partners in the community, to make sure this happens.”

April 23, 2020


On Thursday, health authorities confirmed that COVID-19 has surpassed coronary heart disease, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the flu as the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County.

At the county’s daily briefing, public health director Barbara Ferrer said the average daily reported number of deaths related to coronavirus is now 44. In comparison, average daily fatalities from coronary heart disease are 31, 8 from COPD and emphysema and 5 from influenza.


On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted  to create a $2.2 million program to help “families that are already struggling to pay their rent, and are living paycheck to paycheck.” 

The program would help tenants who earn 80% or less of the median income in their area, and could potentially help several hundreds of Los Angeles families.

April 22, 2020


The non profit organization that runs a youth advocacy program at Roosevelt High School has put together a coronavirus resource guide for Boyle Heights residents. The four-page guide on a downloadable PDF document is currently available in English only, but a Spanish-language version is forthcoming. 

Among areas covered are special support for undocumented immigrants and the rights of tenants, workers and families. 

The guide can be downloaded here.

April 21, 2020


On Saturday, the California Department of Health identified 261 skilled nursing facilities with one or more cases of COVID-19, and more than half of them are in LA County.

Of the 148 facilities in the county with one or more cases, there is one nursing home in Boyle Heights. The state report does not state the total number of cases at the Buena Ventura Post Acute Care Center –only that it is at least one and less than 11.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Friday that more than a third of the reported deaths in the county (36% as of Friday) have been primarily residents in skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Over the last few days, Spanish-language media reported about the hardships faced by Mariachi musicians who seek work at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights since the stay-at-home order was issued last month. The musicians do not qualify for unemployment insurance since they are independent contractors.

“We haven’t worked for four weeks,” Javier Chora, of Mariachi Jocotepec, told La Opinión. “We want the government to help the musicians. We have no funds or resources to withstand so much time without working.”

La Opinión reached out to the office of Councilman José Huízar. A spokesperson there said no Mariachi musician had complained directly to the office, but that anyone who did would be referred to the city’s Small Business Emergency Microloan Program.

Musician Israel Moreno told Telemundo 52 in a similar story Saturday: “It’s a shame that our music, one of the most beautiful things there is for us Mexicans, has to be silenced this way.”

Several Mariachis staged a protest “serenata” on Wednesday, asking for assistance from city officials. Most of the musicians wore face masks while performing, as reported by Univision 34.

The serenata was also the subject of a photo essay by Los Angeles Times photographer Gary Coronado”:

April 16, 2020


On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $125 million fund aimed at helping undocumented workers during the coronavirus emergency. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fund will distribute one-time $500 cash grants for individuals and up to $1,000 for families who do not qualify for aid from federal programs or unemployment benefits.

The program is partly funded through charitable donations and will be distributed by regional nonprofit groups who work with the undocumented community. Applications will begin to be taken next month.

This week, Los Angeles Mayor said that the city would give out a no-fee debit card to individuals and families who fell under federal poverty lines and lost more than 50% of their income due to coronavirus, regardless of their immigration status.  Applications for the Angeleno Card were being taken Tuesday through Thursday, though many people complained they couldn’t get through the website or phone line to apply.


On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved measures to create an assistance program to help renters who cannot afford to pay back late rent and tenants who have lost income because of unpaid rents. The county will now seek for funds to provide this assistance.

Also on Tuesday, the county voted to extend a moratorium on evictions to mobile homes and to apply a freeze on rent increases to all unincorporated areas of the county, including East Los Angeles.

A countywide moratorium on evictions has been in place since last month.

Check out this complete guide to eviction rules during the pandemic.


The first testing site for COVID-19 in Boyle Heights opened Tuesday in a vacant lot behind Mariachi Plaza. A similar drive-through testing site opened a week earlier at the East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park.

Individuals must pre register and meet testing criteria before they show up for the free test For more information and FAQs:


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One Response

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    It would be really great if BHB did a story on why our communities have such a high rate of positive confirmed cases. I think there’s a story to be told there.


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