Los Angeles County health officials said Friday that residents needed to increase social distancing measures in order to slow the spread of coronavirus and warned that as many as 30% or county residents could be infected with COVID-19 by mid-summer if stricter measures aren’t taken.
Officials extended the current stay-at-home order at least through May 15 and offered new guidelines for essential businesses that require the use of face masks by customers and employees, similar to an order issued by the city which went into effect Friday.
Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, said the new guidelines also require that business owners create and post a plan explaining how they are implementing physical distancing and thorough cleaning practices.
“We are extending health officer orders because they are working, but we know we have a ways to go in order to both protect the lives of people who live in our county and to make sure that our health care systems remain fully able to serve all who need their care,” Ferrer said. “Because there are so many people that are infected in LA County, and because there’s so much spread, we have to continue to keep ourselves physically apart from each other during the next few weeks.”
On Friday, Public Health confirmed 18 new deaths and 475 new cases of COVID-19 –including three new cases in Boyle Heights and six new cases in East Los Angeles.
Over the last 48 hours, there have been 900 new cases. A digital tool that maps and charts the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases throughout Los Angeles county can be consulted on the County website. On Friday it showed the number of cases in Boyle Heights as 53, and the total for East Los Angeles as 75.
To date, Public Health has identified 8,430 cases across all areas of LA County, including 241 deaths.