Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that the city could reinstate a stay-at-home mandate if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.
“Today, more than 50% of the people who are testing positive in Los Angeles County are between 18 and 40 years of age,” the mayor said. “Remember, just a few weeks back it was 30%. Then when I talked to you last week it was 40%.”
The briefing comes as L.A. County health officials reported an alarming spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, prompting concern about a potential surge in deaths.
The county recorded 2,496 new coronavirus cases and another 65 deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 123,004 cases with 3,642 deaths countywide.
Last week, Garcetti announced that the city would begin sharing information on the threat level of COVID-19 infection through a color-coded indicator that breaks down the risk of spread into four categories: red, orange, yellow and green.
On Wednesday, he said the threat level remained at orange, meaning there is an extremely high risk of infection and residents should take precautions and assume everyone around them is infectious. Under the orange dial, people should stay home as often as they can and only participate in essential activities.
“If things get worse, that dial could move to red in this coming week or two. That would place us at the highest risk of infection and we’d likely return to a mandated safer at home,” the mayor said. “But if things get better, we’ll see that dial back down to yellow, indicating we’re successfully flattening the curve.”
Although COVID-19 test appointments remain full over the next few days as demand surges, more tests will be added for Saturday and into next week, the mayor said. By Thursday morning, the city and county testing sites will have together tested over 1 million people, according to Garcetti.
“A test is not a passport to party,” he stated, emphasizing that people should not go out and socialize with people outside those in their household.
The mayor also announced the Emergency Renters Assistance Program that will launch Monday and provide $100 million to help renters stay in their homes.
“It gives financial relief and additional protection to renters as well as support to landlords. It’s really a win-win,” the mayor said.
Garcetti said last week that an estimated one in 140 people is currently infectious with COVID-19 in L.A. County, and the rate is expected to increase to one out of every 100 people or one in every 70 people.