Los Angeles County public health director gets visibly upset while giving dire update on the county’s COVID-19 trajectory

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A couple wearing facemasks to prevent the spread of coronavirus watch the sunset from Elysian Park in Los Angeles, California, on November 14, 2020. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials delivered an update on COVID-19 and the region’s stay at home order on Wednesday.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s Public health director delivered a grim update, announcing 9,243 new cases and 3,299 patients currently hospitalized.

While addressing the 75 new deaths, and the county’s total of 8,075 deaths, Ferrer choked up as she said “Over 8,000 people, who were beloved members of their families, are not coming back.”

The 11 counties in Southern California are eligible to exit from the stay at home order on December 28, if ICU capacity throughout the Southern California region for the next month is predicted to be above or equal to 15%, according to public health officials.

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Los Angeles County’s public health officials delivered a grim update on COVID-19 statistics and restrictions on Wednesday – and one began to get choked up when announcing new deaths in the country’s most populous county.

As Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s public health director, ran through the high number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, she grew visibly upset. The county of roughly 10 million people registered 75 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total COVID-19 related deaths to 8,075 since the start of the pandemic. 

There are currently 9,243 new cases and 3,299 patients currently hospitalized in the nation’s most populous county.

In the televised conference and while presenting a graph of Los Angeles County’s daily number of deaths, Ferrer said, “Over 8,000 people,” then stopped and appeared to fight back tears. Ferrer apologized and continued with her voice trembling, “Over 8,000 people, who were beloved members of their families, are not coming back, and their deaths are an incalculable loss to their friends and their family as well as our community.”

 

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Ferrer added that the surge in Los Angeles County has also led to a spike in infections among healthcare workers, and last week, 1,745 infections were reported among the county’s health workers, doubling the number from the prior week.

She also discussed restrictions for the stay-at-home order in Los Angeles County for the coming weeks.

Grocery stores (at 35% occupancy), retail stores (at 20% occupancy), restaurants (for takeout and delivery only), parks, outdoor gyms, libraries (at 20% occupancy), playgrounds, and schools are allowed to remain open. Meanwhile, wineries, breweries, museums, personal care businesses (including barbershops and nail salons), and family entertainment centers will remain closed for the next three weeks. 

The 11 counties in Southern California are eligible to exit from the stay at home order on December 28, if ICU capacity throughout the entire region is projected to be above or equal to 15% in the following month. Public health officials said that on Tuesday, ICU availability in Southern California was estimated at 10.1%.

For the last two weeks, anti-lockdown protestors, including small business owners affected by the restrictions, have protested in front of Ferrer’s home, as well as other Los Angeles County officials and politicians. 

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