LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County will not authorize the reopening of any additional businesses until at least the end of the month to see the impact of the Labor Day holiday on the data, the county's public health director said Monday.
"We've had significant spikes and cases after the holidays, and that resulted in us needing to sort of take some steps backwards," Dr. Barbara Ferrer said. "We want to avoid doing that again, so we're going to wait a couple of weeks, look at our data, review it with the board ... and we will be getting back to everyone toward the end of the month."
Earlier in the day, a group of elected officials from Bell Gardens, Commerce, Gardena and Hawaiian Gardens called on L.A. County officials to allow the reopening of outdoor activity at card rooms in compliance with state guidelines. Operators of small craft breweries have also been making a similar push to reopen for outdoor service.
Ferrer said she respected that the county has maintained tougher rules than the state in some instances, but said those restrictions would remain in place at least for a couple more weeks.
"We've made a decision with our board that we're going to hold steady until the end of September, when we are going to be looking at what the data is that we've seen after the Labor Day weekend," she said.
Since the virus has a two-week incubation period, spikes in possible new cases from increased public exposure over Labor Day weekend would not be reflected in case data for about 14 days — as was seen in the data in late July following the Fourth of July holiday weekend when hospitalizations and case counts spiked.
"This pandemic is frustrating and heartbreaking, and not the least of it is that we desperately want to go back to living our lives the way they were before," Ferrer said. "And unfortunately as we've already experienced, doing so creates illness and devastation for so many, including people who are very vulnerable."
And though additional businesses will not be allowed to reopen, some schools have started moving ahead with plans to offer in-person learning for students with individualized learning plans, requiring in-person instruction for English as a second language and those needing other specialized instruction.
As of Monday, Ferrer said 59 schools have submitted plans to offer in-person instruction — about half of which could open as early as next week.
On Monday, the county reported 733 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 24 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 254,656 cases and 6,231 deaths. A total of 775 people were hospitalized with 34% being treated in intensive care units and 18% on ventilators.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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