Los Angeles City, County to Extend Stay-Home Order to May 15

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(Bloomberg) --

The city and county of Los Angeles are extending their order to keep people at home for two more weeks to May 15 with the number of cases continuing to increase and as the virus spreads in the community.

The county reported 18 new deaths from the pandemic to total 241, and the number of new cases rose 475, or 6%, to 8,430, L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in her daily briefing Friday. Mayor Eric Garcetti said it was the fifth day the greater L.A. area reported a single-digit increase, and the number of deaths, while growing, are doubling every six days, compared with every four days in the past few weeks.

“This is beginning to bend the curve,” Garcetti said.

The county extended the order after its model showed a surge in cases, estimating that 96% of all residents would be exposed to the virus by mid-summer if the restrictions were lifted.

Based on the cases so far, 3% of those infected required hospitalization, and 1% needed intensive care, and the projected jump in infections would lead to a sharp shortage in medical facilities, according to Christina Ghaly, director for the county’s Department of Health Services.

“If we were to stop physical distancing at this point in time, while we would still succeed in pushing those cases out further in time, we would go back to the same original peak on that same slope, which would result in a large increase of cases of Covid-19 that would run the risk of overwhelming the health-care system,” Ghaly said. “Public health interventions can lower that peak.”

The county expects to reduce the overall infection rate to 30%, which Ghaly said is “a huge decline” from the earlier projection, and is taking steps to cut that down to less than 10% by Aug 1.

The measures have taken a toll in the economy. In a survey conducted by Loyala Marymount University, half of the city’s residents have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut as a result of the crisis, Garcetti said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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