The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. County Department of Public Health declared a county health emergency Wednesday, as the county revealed six new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to seven countywide.
The move allows the county to marshal more resources in its fight against the spread of COVID-19, and comes with more stringent guidelines for personal contact and businesses. It also comes as Congress nears a deal to approve $8.3 billion in national emergency federal aid. (Update: The House passed the bipartisan spending bill 415-2; President Donald Trump said he would sign any bill that reaches his desk.)
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L.A. County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said today the six new cases in L.A. County were confirmed Tuesday night after testing on 12 cases. All the new cases are linked to assumed known exposure sources — there are no known cases of community transmissions.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the county’s declaration of a local emergency was taken “out of abundance of caution.”
“This is not a response rooted in panic,” she said in a news conference that included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. She said the move “will facilitate our efforts to coordinate with all our partners and jointly implement effective strategies to protect our residents.”
Barger said the declaration enhances preparedness and allows to seek assistance from state and federal partners.
Currently, there are more than 90,000 cases of novel coronavirus globally, with more than 3,100 deaths reported, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., 10 people have died, all in Washington state, with more than 80 cases reported so far in 13 states.
The L.A. health department’s new guidelines for businesses updated Wednesday include recommendations to “modify, postpone, or cancel large conferences or events,” actions that already are ramping up in the film, TV and media industries worldwide.
Just today, Mipcom in Cannes decided to cancel its 2020 event, with other global events from the Cannes Film Festival to the Olympics actively monitoring the situation. In the U.S., companies have begun to cancel or postpone conferences and withdraw from events like SXSW (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) and the cable upfronts (Fox News Channel).
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