LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County residents can expect to remain under some type of “Safer At Home” restrictions well into the summer barring any major change in the fight against the coronavirus, the county’s public health director said Tuesday.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer made the suggestion during a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, saying some form of stay-at-home restrictions will likely remain in place “for the next three months”.
“There’s now no way, unless there was a dramatic change in this virus and the tools that we have at hand to actually fight against this virus, there’s no way that we could in fact see us not needing to continue with a set of restrictions,” Ferrer said.
Such “dramatic change” would involve a reliable vaccine, at-home testing, and treatment for COVID-19, Ferrer added.
She did not specify what types of restrictions might remain in place even as the countywide Safer At Home order is set to expire Friday.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger later clarified Ferrer’s statement, saying it was “taken out of context and has understandably caused great concern by the public. Relaxing the restrictions in the ‘Safer at Home’ order is an important focus for the County, which will be done gradually over the next few months.
“I am eager to reopen more of L.A. County as soon as it’s safe to do so, in collaboration with our health experts, community leaders, businesses and residents, with best practices in place to ensure our overall health and well-being. These decisions will be guided by the latest science and data collected. I’m confident that the more our communities continue to comply, the sooner we can resume normalcy.”
While the county loosened some guidelines last week, with trails reopening and retailers allowed to expand to curbside services, Ferrer cited an increase in COVID-19 deaths and total cases and said those would remain steady barring a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand”.
Ferrer’s comments were made in the context of a Board of Supervisors debate over how long a moratorium on evictions should remain in place. While the current public health order is set to expire Friday, Ferrer did not specifically address the extension.
The county announced 961 new cases and 45 deaths Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,613.