LOS ANGELES - With a continued surge in COVID-19 cases that has flooded hospitals with patients and led to deaths roughly every six minutes, Los Angeles County officials were continuing today to weigh possible new business restrictions in hopes of slowing spread of the virus.
As of late Friday, however, no announcement had been made.
The county Board of Supervisors held a special closed-door meeting Friday afternoon, with multiple reports suggesting the panel would be discussing possible new restrictions, potentially closing indoor shopping malls and other non-essential businesses. The board, however, met for only about 10 minutes before emerging and announcing that no reportable action had been taken in their session.
Asked about possible new restrictions being imposed, Dr. Paul Simon, the county Department of Public Health chief science officer, said Friday afternoon that while he had not been advised of any impending announcement, "all possible potential interventions are on the table.''
"I know we're having discussions in the county to determine if additional measures are needed,'' he said, noting the county's concern "about the high level of spread of the virus in the community.''
Currently, non-essential businesses are already operating under a strict 20% capacity limit.
Los Angeles is the new epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. With flooded hospitals and fatigued healthcare workers.
The numbers are alarming as Los Angeles County continues to see a post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths. On Thursday, 17,323 new cases of the virus were reported, as well as 287 deaths. Now, LA County averages 2,000 deaths a week due to the novel coronavirus, which is one life lost roughly every six minutes.
In addition, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed on Thursday night the possibility of tightened guidelines is something the county is looking at.
This week, the LA County Department of Public Health noted worksite outbreaks have skyrocketed in recent weeks, which is adding to the surge in cases.
In addition to the economic impact of closing more businesses again, officials must weigh whether or not people will comply with any new guidelines. Many businesses have disregarded health orders altogether and the parties and protests have never stopped.
A recent example was a swinger’s party in South Los Angeles that was broken up by the LA County Sheriff’s Department where dozens of partygoers were cited.
Gathering with strangers, and for even more intimate contact, is exactly what health officials say is fueling the surge.