L.A. County officials today announced that all beaches in the Los Angeles County area will immediately close as part of the effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The public health order -- signed today by LA County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis -- is effective immediately and applies to all L.A. County beaches, beach bathrooms, piers, promenades and beach bike paths. It also incorporates previously announced closures of public trails.
“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “In order to save lives, beaches in LA County will be temporarily closed. I understand that this is a huge sacrifice for everyone who enjoys going to our beaches. But we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus. This closure is temporary and we can always reopen these beaches when it is safe to do so.”
The closures would be enforced through at least April 19.
To further slow the spread of COVID-19, the LA County Health Officer also issued new orders for residents:
• Self-quarantine of anyone exposed to someone diagnosed with/likely to have COVID-19
• Self-isolation of anyone diagnosed with/showing symptoms within 14 days of close contact with an infected person
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the head of the county's public health department also said that they had confirmed an additional 257 number of cases in the country, bringing the total number to 1,465. The death toll was also revised upward by five. Four men and 1 woman, all over the age of 60, passed away. No other information about the patients who died was released.
"I ask that you help us by not going to our beaches and not going to our hiking trails, at least for the next few weeks," Ferrer said. "... Many of our parks do remain open so there are opportunities for people to go outside and enjoy our beautiful county, but only if we practice social distancing."
The increase in confirmed cases is also being partly attributed to an increase in testing, but Ferrer said that we also had to assume that "we have a lot more people in the county who are capable of infecting others."
Slightly less than 2% of people who contract the coronavirus in L.A. County have died, Dr. Ferrer said - higher than New York's mortality rate.
The number of confirmed cases around the Southland include:
- Los Angeles County: 1465 - 26 deaths
- Orange County: 256 - 1 death
- Riverside County: 149 - 8 deaths
- Ventura County: 61 - 1 death
- San Bernardino County: 54 - 3 deaths
- San Diego County: 341 - 3 deaths.
Statewide, there are more than 4,200 cases with at least 85 deaths reported. Health officials say there are more than 95,000 cases with nearly 1,500 deaths nationwide.