L.A. County officials today extended the stay-at-home and business closure-orders through May 15. The orders had been set to expire on April 19.
While social-distancing requirements have gone a long way in dramatically slowing the spread of COVID-19, health officials said that lifting them too early could lead to nearly 96% of the population infected by August.
“If you were to reduce physical distancing to the pre-health officer order levels, virtually all individuals in Los Angeles County, 95.6% per the model, would be infected by the pandemic by Aug. 1, 2020,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county's director of health services. “That number is starkly reduced, down to about 30%, if we maintain the current levels of physical distancing.
Health officials cited a detailed analysis of cases confirmed to date and a model of future infections. County health officials said numbers in the region show that existing social-distancing practices have helped to "flatten the curve" of infections, and lifting them too early would reverse that trend.
“If we're able to increase the level of physical distancing -- people are able to remain at home more than they are today -- then we could reduce the number of infected individuals even further, down to an estimated 5.5%,” Dr. Ghaly added.
The orders were first announced in Mid-March, and asked residents to stay home as much as possible, leaving only for essential errands and avoiding large groups of people. The orders also shuttered non-essential businesses, leaving grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants doing take-out still open.
Health officials on Friday also reported 475 new cases of COVID-19 in the L.A. County area, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 8,430. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the head of the County's Public Health Department, reported another 18 deaths, bringing the region's death toll to 241.
The number of confirmed cases around the Southland include:
- Los Angeles County: 8,430 cases - 241 deaths
- Orange County: 1,138 cases - 17 deaths
- Riverside County: 1,280 cases - 33 deaths
- Ventura County: 274 cases - 7 deaths
- San Bernardino County: 729 cases - 24 deaths
- San Diego County: 1,628 cases - 40 deaths.
Statewide, there are more than 20,345 cases with at least 552 deaths reported. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 486,994 cases nationwide with the death toll reaching 18,022 by Friday afternoon.