L.A. has new outbreak help websites: One to find cheap internet, the other for manufacturers to make masks

Local News

In his daily briefing on Los Angeles’ coronavirus response efforts Thursday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced two more websites the city has set up to help residents: one dealing with internet connectivity, the other with producing medical gear and supplies.

A directory of free and low-cost internet options in L.A., as well as information on how to get a free cellphone, is available at getconnectedlosangeles.lacity.org.

Calling L.A. the manufacturing capital of America, Garcetti announced www.laprotects.org was launched in partnership with clothing brand Reformation to organize garment manufacturers that aren’t already in the protective gear supply chain. They hope to create 5 million non-medical masks for workers like grocery store and pharmacy employees.

L.A. is also expecting a shipment of medical masks from Shanghai and Guangzhou in China, the mayor said.

The mayor’s office previously announced other websites including lajobportal.com to help unemployed residents find work, coronavirus.lacity.org/testing to find out if you’re eligible for COVID-19 testing, coronavirus.lacity.org/medicalworker to connect medical workers with ways to help and lamayor.org/loan to provide small businesses financial resources.

Thursday’s address came after virus cases across L.A. County topped 1,200, with 551 infections in the city of L.A., according to county public health officials. The U.S. surged to the world’s leader in confirmed cases Thursday with more than 82,000.

The number of new cases in Los Angeles County reported Thursday, 421, was more than triple the 138 cases the day before, largely thanks to expanded testing capacity.

But if that rate continues, Garcetti said it will take L.A. less than a week to be on par with New York, which has confirmed more than 30,000 cases and 325 deaths.

“We’re only on the front end of this curve by what all the public health officials tell us. It will get worse.”

Garcetti promised to share with the public projections experts have provided him on the virus’ expected rate of spread.

Acknowledging that Angelenos are also suffering financially, the mayor said he was extending the city’s moratorium on residential and commercial eviction to April 19. Residential tenants will still have to pay what they owe, but they will have six months to do so, Garcetti said.

He also acknowledged that it’s more likely to be months than weeks before L.A.’s economy and public spaces reopen.

On Wednesday, Garcetti addressed questions about the durations of the city and countywide “safer at home” order after telling Business Insider it could stretch longer than two months.

“Folks who think we’re gonna be done in a couple weeks, it’s simply not that case anywhere,” he said.

On Thursday the mayor expanded the list of parks and facilities impacted by shutdowns, closing all outdoor sports amenities within the city Recreation and Parks system, including skate parks, tennis courts, baseball fields and basketball courts. You can still walk or run through the parks, but you must stay at least 6 feet away from others.

“I don’t want to do these things. I do them each with a heavy heart,” Garcetti said, referring to previous closures including Runyon Canyon the Venice Pier. “But each one of these steps, know that they are just temporary but they are absolutely critical.”

The city has also issued updated guidelines for parking enforcement, including relaxed ticketing for street sweeping, rush-hour zones and vehicle registration.

The mayor has been updating the public at 5:15 p.m. each weekday via a remote live broadcast.

Correction: A previous version of this story indicated the masks produced by the L.A. Protects initiative would be used in the medical field. They will be non-medical masks used by essential workers who aren’t in the medical field.

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