LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The White House expressed concern Friday about the continued growth of coronavirus cases in L.A. County.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, said she has asked the CDC to investigate the L.A. area to determine why cases are still on the rise even though it has been shut down for two months. She said the CDC will also look at the Chicago and Washington, D.C., areas.
There were 1,072 new cases in L.A. County and 35 deaths Friday. It brings the total number of cases to 43,052, and the death toll to 2,049. L.A. County has 56 percent of the coronavirus-related deaths in the state, and nearly 50 percent of all the state’s cases.
“You can see we have concerns of where cities have remained closed but still have a persistent high number of cases,” Birx said, pointing at a chart showing the area’s growth. The chart also included Long Beach and parts of Orange County in its case count.
However, despite Birx’s comments, L.A. County moved forward with its reopening plan heading into Memorial weekend. Stores located inside indoor malls can reopen for curbside pickup only and some beach parking lots will be open as well.
L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer maintained that the county is on the right track, because the county had already asked the CDC to intervene.
“I think you all remember a while back, we actually asked for some help from the CDC,” she said, adding that the agency has already sent epidemiologists to monitor the situation. She also said the CDC is directly involved with helping the county battle its COVID-19 outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities.
Ferrer said a continued increase in overall cases does not necessarily mean the county is in bad shape.
“As I noted yesterday, our overall data points are looking pretty good in terms of being on the recovery journey,” she said.
Hospitalizations are down 15 percent and death rates are down by 12 percent, Ferrer said.
“We are moving in the right direction,” she added.