With coronavirus cases rising at a record pace—and deaths approaching the same levels as in Spring—governments statewide and local are implementing mitigation measures (or pointedly not implementing mitigation measures, trusting fellow citizens to fend for themselves) to stop the spread of COVID-19. With stay-at-home advisories already in place in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, a new county joins the list: Los Angeles, the country's second biggest metropolis. "We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said of the new order. "Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge." Read on to see exactly what the order entails, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Private and Public Gatherings Are Prohibited, With Some Exceptions
Here is the Los Angeles County order in full:
As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, a temporary Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be issued to require additional safety measures across sectors. The temporary order will take effect Monday, November 30, 2020 and remain in effect through December 20, 2020.
Today, Public Health has confirmed 24 new deaths and 4,544 new cases of COVID-19. Currently, the five-day average of new cases is 4,751.
On November 17, Los Angeles County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day. A new Health Officer Order would be issued for three weeks that offered additional safety modifications while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing or providing essential and permitted services to leave their homes.
In the new Order that goes into effect on Monday, residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others.
The additional safety modifications in the order include the following changes to the existing Health Officer Order:
Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
Closed non-essential businesses/activities:
Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)
Because of the high rates of transmission in the community, restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking, as customers are not wearing face coverings during their visit which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.
There are 1,893 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU. On October 27, one month ago, there were 747 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Public Health reminds everyone to stay home as much as possible and avoid seeing people you don't live with, even if you don't feel sick. Residents are also reminded to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth whenever they are outside their home and around others, as COVID-19 can be unintentionally spread to other people. We can also reduce transmission by keeping a physical distance of at least 6-feet when outside and around others. Taking these simple safety precautions, in addition to washing your hands frequently, will save lives.
Additionally, it is very important that if you are even mildly sick or think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 that you stay home and away from other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and consider being tested for COVID-19.
To date, Public Health identified 387,793 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,604 deaths. Testing results are available for more than 3,681,714 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.
"To those who recently lost loved ones from COVID-19, we send you wishes for healing and peace," said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. "With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our healthcare system. These targeted measures are in effect for the next three weeks and still allow for many essential and non-essential activities where residents are always masked and distanced. We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that L.A. County residents continue following Public Health safety measures that we know can slow the spread. Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge. Please remain home as much as possible and do not gather with others not in your household for the next three weeks."
How to Survive the Pandemic
As for yourself, no matter where you live, "if you have a really good attention to the public health measures, I believe we can prevent the acceleration of that surge that we're seeing," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert. So do things "like wearing masks, uniformly; keeping distance; avoiding crowds in congregate settings, particularly indoor; washing hands frequently" and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.