Los Angeles Coronavirus Update: Public Health Issues Guidelines For Public Protesters

Los Angeles Coronavirus Update: Public Health Issues Guidelines For Public Protesters

August 28, 2020

UPDATE, THURSDAY: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health today confirmed 38 new deaths and 1,636 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. The number of new cases reported today include a backlog of 280 test results received from the State.

To date, Public Health identified 236,986 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 5,701 deaths. Nearly 65% of all cases reported by Public Health have occurred among people 49 years old and younger.

Public Health also offered guidance to anyone planning a protest or public observance in the days ahead. “Public Health acknowledges the observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, recognized as a national day of resistance against racism, sexism, imperialism, and fascism, with a focus this year on environmental and racial injustices.

“There are many ways to observe the 50th Anniversary while avoiding gatherings and adhering to Public Health guidelines. However, for residents that plan on attending peaceful protests, please be aware of the elevated risks that come when people of different households gather during this pandemic, even when they are outdoors.

“Protests can inadvertently result in transmission of COVID-19, including from people who are asymptomatic and have no idea that they are positive for the virus. If you unknowingly become infected, you may infect other people in your life, including people who are older or who have underlying health conditions that put them at far greater risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from COVID-19.

Public Health advised staying home if feeling sick, wearing a face mask over nose and mouth and consider eye protection, keeping hands clean, and submit to a 14-day quarantine if exposed.

EARLIER: One day after Governor Gavin Newsom released new guidelines to be followed when schools, day care centers and youth sports leagues reopen, Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer released a statement saying her department would not be allowing schools to reopen under a waiver process.

“At this point,” wrote Ferrer, “Public Health will not be opening up our waiver process for schools. We will be closely reviewing the guidance from the state and will be reviewing all options with the Board to ensure that schools are able to open as safely as possible for all children and staff.”

Under Newsom’s guidelines, counties are still be subject to state monitoring and, if they fall onto the state monitoring list, cannot proceed with any of the new recommendations. Schools can, however apply for a waiver.

According to Ferrer, the Governor allowed local health officers the discretion to grant waivers to school districts and private schools that would permit them to reopen for in-classroom instruction for students in grades TK-6 once local case rates were under 200 per 100,000 people.

On Tuesday, the case rate per 100,000 people in Los Angeles is 196 cases per 100,000 residents.

In a statement the same day, Ferrer said that it is too early to tell if the County’s 14-day case rate will remain below 200.

Newsom has promised more new guidelines impacting the reopening of businesses and modification of stay-at-home orders. He did not say if the guidelines would be more restrictive or less.

The governor did reveal that watch periods may vary from business sector to business sector. The modifications would also impact the current stay-at-home order, he said. Newsom was careful not to reveal the exact direction of the guidelines — whether looser or more strict, except for one small detail.

“It has been traditional to look at a 14 day period,” he said, in terms of safety periods before reopening. Newsom said that, in some cases, those watch periods could extend “potentially up to 21 days.”

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