Dear LA Community,
BARBARA FERRER PhD, MPH, MEd
DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
As many of you are aware, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that emerged from Wuhan City in mainland China. We are taking every available action to inform the public and prevent the spread of this virus.
To date, Chinese authorities have identified thousands of human infections, resulting in the death of hundreds of people, many of whom were elderly or had under-lying health conditions. In addition, COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in numerous travelers who traveled to or came from Wuhan City, including 15 travelers in the United States, as of February 17.
In order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the White House recently issued the following set of new directives that became effective on February 3. These orders apply only to travelers arriving in the United States after February 2.
To date, there remains only 1 case of COVID-19 in LA County, in a non-resident traveler from Wuhan City, and there has been no subsequent community transmission of the virus. Thus, the risk of transmission of coronavirus remains low. There is no immediate threat to the general public and no special precautions are required.
Additionally, with rising reports of reduced patronage of Chinese owned businesses, bullying and stigmatization on school and college campuses, and rampant xenophobia on social media, Public Health is encouraging people to focus on facts. Because COVID-19 is NOT currently spreading in the community in Los Angeles County nor in the United States, the immediate risk to the general public in Los Angeles County is low. Residents can continue to enjoy all their usual activities and feel comfortable eating and shopping at restaurants and stores that are owned and operated by our Chinese neighbors and friends.
Discrimination targeting our Asian American and Chinese American friends, neighbors and businesses is harmful to our entire community. This is not the time for the perpetuation of stereotypes and misinformation about COVID-19. Public Health encourages everyone to continue to enjoy all that our Asian communities have to offer.
We are also asking the public to beware of malicious fake public health notifications surrounding this virus. Please be aware that accurate information and official updates on the coronavirus will always be available on the Public Health website, and social media accounts @lapublichealth. Any letters or communications about coronavirus purporting to be from Public Health that are not posted on our website or official channels are hoaxes.
In the meantime, people taking personal measures to prevent infections is one of our best defenses against the potential spread of any virus, including COVID-19. Los Angeles residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities unless they are sick and practice good public health hygiene, including:
Moving forward, I have strong confidence in the practices the Department of Public Health has developed to keep our communities healthy, and as always, we will update the public the moment we have any new information. If you have questions regarding COVID-19, please call 2-1-1 or check out our Coronavirus website.