For Immediate Release:
March 04, 2020
LOS ANGELES –Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) and the Department of Public Health (Public Health) declared a local and public health emergency in response to increased spread of coronavirus across the country and six additional cases in LA County. Public Health stated that none of the new cases are from community spread, and all of these new cases were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. None of these cases were linked to the first case reported in LA County in January.
“These declarations are a swift response to this emergent issue and will enhance our ability to effectively manage our response,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “These actions will allow us to have even greater coordination to protect our more than 10 million residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” she added. Public Health simultaneously issued a declaration of a local public health emergency.
“My first priority is, and always will be, to protect the public health of our residents and that means ensuring we have the necessary equipment and resources in place should the threat of COVID-19 escalate in the County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Fear will not drive our response to this virus. Rather, we will prepare and implement our proven prevention strategies to effectively protect the public.”
“We will continue to mobilize county resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate with agencies across the county and state and federal partners, and raise awareness about how everyone can be prepared for more cases and community spread ,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.
“As more cases are identified and community spread is detected in numerous areas, the possibility of sustained community spread of this virus in the US will increase,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Public Health. “Everyone and every organization has to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus.”
Public Health will be enhancing efforts to include the following:
“Our local healthcare system is well prepared to treat more cases should the need arise, particularly among vulnerable populations that require significant clinical care,” Ferrer added. “Specific guidance documents allow each of us to take steps to be prepared, including personal actions that can make a difference in disease transmission.”
And although there is no current need for significant social distancing measures in LA County, and the individual risk for contracting COVID-19 remains low for most individuals in the County, all community members should take the opportunity to plan for the possibility of more significant social distancing requirements should there be broad community spread. Personal preparation measures include:
LA County is prepared to manage and investigate suspected and confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. Public Health will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions to be taken to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus and to care for those who may become ill with this virus. As with other respiratory infections, there are steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including novel coronavirus, are:
Public Health is also asking businesses, schools, and community-based organizations to prepare plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick (even mildly) without the risk of being academically or financially penalized. This includes the option to work from home or to complete assignments remotely, where possible. Public Health is requesting organizations do the following:
Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:
The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov , and follow LA County Public Health on social media at #####