LOS ANGELES - In accordance with guidelines issued Monday by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County officials announced re-closures of indoor operations at certain business sectors as coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations continued to rise.
The closures include fitness centers and gyms, worship centers, offices for non-critical sectors, indoor malls, hair salons, barbershops, and personal care services such as nail salons, body waxing and tattoo shops, among others.
“I know this setback is disheartening… but we must do everything we can to help slow the spread,” said County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer
Ferrer said the county will be releasing detailed information on the new health order later Monday. The county updated its coronavirus pandemic recovery plan online.
Newsom said Monday that all counties in California must re-close in-person dining at restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers such as bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades, zoos, museums and cardrooms.
Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide.
Earlier in the day, Superintendent Austin Beutner announced that students within the Los Angeles Unified School District would not be returning for in-person classes this fall, after teachers urged the district to keep stay-at-homer orders in place and put an increased focus on improving online learning.
The county on Monday reported 2,593 new coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths, bringing the totals to 136,129 cases and 3,822 deaths.
Ferrer noted that the number of deaths reported on Monday's tends to be lower due to a lag in reporting from labs and hospitals over the weekend.
Although the 7-day rolling average for all COVID-19 deaths in the county has been going down, Ferrer noted that the increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations could lead to spiking numbers of deaths in the coming weeks.
Some officials have attributed the rise in overall cases to increases in testing, but county officials said repeatedly that the metrics clearly demonstrate an increase in community spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Ferrer said that there are ways each individual person can help slow the spread of the virus, such as wearing a face-covering when you're around other people, avoiding crowds and washing your hands frequently to prevent passing along the infection or getting infected yourself.
“We all need to remember that we do get to play a role in preventing there from being spikes and infections… The truth of the matter is, this is actually a virus where we can do a lot to prevent the transmission of ourselves, as individual people and businesses can do a lot,” she said.
Ferrer said residents need to take the call to leave home only for essentials seriously.
"At this point, if you're not part of the solution to slowing the spread, you're ending up being part of the problem," Ferrer said.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the list of symptoms of the virus. Congestion or runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea were added, joining the federal agency's list that already included fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell and sore throat.
Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
On June 18, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines mandating face coverings in most situations while indoors, but also outside when a person cannot maintain six feet of social distance.
There are exemptions that include children age two and younger because of the risk of suffocation, and for people with a variety of medical or psychological issues that make mask-wearing a hazard.
The use of face coverings is believed to help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, without knowing it, from transmitting it to others.
Public Health continues to remind the public that while a majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions, not everyone does. Residents are urged to continue to take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from the virus.
In LA County, approximately 93% of all residents who died from the virus had underlying health conditions. Ferrer said this emphasizes the county's need to protect those with underlying health conditions and urges those residents to stay at home as much as possible.
She said this includes, but is not limited to, individuals with asthma, those who have had cancer, anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and anyone who is immune-compromised.
"If you're part of one of these groups, you need to take every precaution imaginable to protect yourself from COVID-19," said Ferrer.
Health officials say that social distancing remains our best defense against the virus, and all residents are instructed to abide by current measures in place across the state. Social distancing is not only about preventing the illness itself, but rather, slowing the rate at which people get sick.
The county's health department says that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of widespread transmission, everyone should always wear a face-covering securely over their nose and mouth and keep six feet apart from others not in their household when out and about.
Health officials say coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. In early April, the CDC changed how it was defining risk of infection for Americans, saying anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.
Public Health says that the best protection against COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.
Click here for a list of locations of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.
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CNS contributed to this report.