Coronavirus cases in L.A. County mount as officials offer ‘roadmap’ for schools, roll back reopening of indoor spaces

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Cases of coronavirus continue to mount in Los Angeles County — and statewide— leading officials to announce new rollbacks and educational protocols.

Health officials on Monday reported 13 deaths and 2,593 new coronavirus cases in L.A. County. By comparison, on Sunday, 18 news deaths and a staggering 3,322 new coronavirus cases were reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday morning ordered all counties in Southern California to close indoor activities at gyms, fitness centers, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo shops, barbershops, places of worship, indoor malls, indoor protests and more because of the dramatic continued increase in coronavirus cases and deaths.

Bars, indoor dining at restaurants, indoor museums, indoor operations at zoos and aquariums, and cardrooms and satellite wagering facilities also remain closed.

L.A. County officials said they will continue to follow the state’s guidance amid the county’s “sobering data.”

“I know this step back in our recovery journey is disheartening but we must do everything in our power to stop this virus from spreading,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon.

To date, there have been a total of 136,129 coronavirus cases and 3,822 deaths confirmed countywide. Across California 326,187 coronavirus cases and 7,053 deaths have been reported.

In L.A. County, there are currently 2,056 people hospitalized. Twenty-eight percent of the patients are being treated in the intensive care unit and 20% of them were on ventilators. Health officials said daily hospitalizations “remains substantially higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen four weeks ago.”

More than 1,338,000 residents have been tested for COVID-19. The county’s positive rate was at 9%, county health data showed.

While health officials continue to analyze and attempt to get the upper hand against the coronavirus pandemic, educators remain focused on planning how to keep students safe during the upcoming school year. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday that in-person classes will not resume when the school year begins Aug. 18 because of the increased number of coronavirus infections.

L.A. County public health officials also announced safety protocols to serve as a “roadmap” for school districts when they are authorized to reopen for K-12 in-person learning.

The directives include face coverings for students, staff and teachers to be worn during the school day, except children won’t need to wear one for nap time or while eating and drinking. Inside the classrooms, there will be six feet between a teacher’s desk and the nearest student, as well as between students. Extra-curricular activities will be limited; there will be staggered start times to allow for physical distancing on school buses; tape or other markings will be used to help students adhere to physical distancing; and team sports that don’t allow physical distancing won’t be able to restart again.

Hand washing and hand sanitizing will be encouraged and monitored, especially for younger students. Students will also eat lunch in the classroom or outside, and students will have temperature checks upon their arrival to school.

“The virus currently rages on in our community, and we’ll need to continue to do our best to protect our children, our teachers and the many many important people who make school a function and who educate our children,” Ferrer said. “And for families and parents of school-aged children, we know how stressful the situation is.”

The full list of reopening protocols for K-12 can be found here publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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