L.A. County Health Officials Say 50 New Cases of Coronavirus Confirmed

L.A. County health officials said Tuesday that they'd confirmed an additional 50 cases of the novel coronavirus in the county, bringing the total number locally to 144. According to the director of the L.A. County Health Department, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the sources of most of the new cases are still being investigated.

Dr. Ferrer said people shouldn't be discouraged and think social distancing had failed, but rather it would take time before the county would see relief in the number of cases.

“If you look across the world, it generally takes three to four weeks to see the fruits of our labors,” she said.

The new cases come as new testing centers come online and lab capacity is expanded. As of yesterday at the public health lab, 206 test have been run. At a private lab being used by the county, at least 900 tests have been conducted, and another 38 have been conducted by the lab at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis also announced that the county would enact an emergency moratorium against all residential and commercial evictions through May 31 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The move is meant to avoid a flurry of evictions during a period of reduced economic activity. Tenants will be given six months to repay any rent owed to landlords. Utilities will also not be shut off during the moratorium period.

Additionally, Supervisor Kathryn Barger told business owners who've been forced to close due to the pandemic that they would be working with the Small Business Administration to provide extra resources to any California business that want to apply for a disaster loan related to the economic damage related to the COVID-19 health crisis.

“In addition to our focus on public health ... we are equally focused on the personal and economic impacts and putting measures in place to protect employees and small businesses,” she said.

Barger said the county “is committed to assisting small businesses in applying for loans through the Small Business Administration.”

“While the Small Business Administration is not at the county level, we will be working with state and federal representatives and our partner agencies,” she said. “... We do not want any business to fall through the cracks.”

Long Beach health officials reported three additional cases of the coronavirus in the city, bringing its total to eight. Of the three new cases detected there, two people had recently traveled to areas of known transmission, but the third source is still being investigated.

Meanwhile, the number of cases continued to increase around Southern California as Riverside county health officials announced that a third person in the Coachella Valley has died from the coronavirus. County officials also extended school closures and public gatherings of more than ten people until at least April 30.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser told the county Board of Supervisors that the extension was necessary to “break the cycle of contagion” of the coronavirus. In announcing the third coronavirus death, Kaiser did not disclose any details of how the woman became infected.

“Community spread is imminent without immediate intervention,” Kaiser told the board. “We have to make interventions stick in order to break the cycle of contagion so COVID-19 does not overwhelm our hospital capacity.”

Health officials say the best way to avoid catching the virus is to engage in frequent hand washing, social distancing and basic hygiene. Symptoms of a coronavirus infection include fever, coughing and respiratory distress. A person usually develops the symptoms within two weeks of exposure, according to the CDC.

Photo: Getty Images

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