County: Be Prepared to Isolate, Quarantine

LA County COVID-19 cases over 1,000

By Sam Catanzaro

The director of public health for Los Angeles County is advising every resident to prepare for the possibility of isolation or quarantine.

“We are asking every single resident in LA County to be prepared to isolate and or to quarantine. And that means have your plans in place because when you are quarantined or isolated you cannot go to the grocery store, you cannot go the pharmacy,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) Director.

On Wednesday, LA County Health Officer issued a public order that requires the self-isolation of any person who tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed by their physician or clinician to be positive for COVID-19. In addition, the order also requires the quarantine for all close contacts, including household members and caregivers.

For those tested positive in LA County, seven days of isolation is now required.

“This means staying at home for at least seven days and until your fever and symptom-free for 72 hours. Do not leave your home,” Ferrer said.

For people who test positive living in a multiperson household, Public Health is telling to avoid contact with other people in the home and to use a separate restroom.

People who test positive, or are told by a physician that they likely have COVID-19 must notify all close contacts so that they can begin a 14-day quarantine.

According to Ferrer, Close contacts include intimate partners, caregivers, people who live in your home, or people who you spend a significant amount of time each day face-to-face with less than 6 feet apart.”

“You must stay home, isolated from others for a 14-day period. That is the incubation period for COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “Even if you were to get tested in that period and the test is negative, you still have to stay home the entire 14 day period. It is really important people understand 14 days is what is required because it can take up to 14 days for you to develop any symptoms of COVID-19 from your exposure.”

As of Thursday, there are 1,216 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in LA County, including 9 in Pacific Palisades.

As of Thursday, there have been 21 deaths and 253 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with many of these people in the ICU.

“I am noting these numbers to just make sure everyone understands the people who are hospitalized are often very sick and they need to use intensive services in our hospitals,” Ferrer said.

According to Ferrer, over 6,300 people in LA County have been tested, with 11 percent coming up positive, noting however that there are many people who may be infected unknowingly,

“What is critical now is to understand we have a lot of people infected in the county. We have people we know are infected and we have a lot of people we don’t know are infected and that means everyone has the potential for either becoming infected or infecting others. And if we all walk through our days with that mindset I think we’ll be able to take the steps we can to slow down the spread,” Ferrer said.

While Ferrer noted that LA is not seeing the same rate experienced in New York City and Italy, she said that the county needs to be prepared for the possibility.

“We are not seeing the same rate of acceleration cases as in New York City. This does not mean we will not see many more cases and that we won’t in fact experience an acceleration once testing capacity increases,” Ferrer said. “New York and Italy are examples where they were both very rapid accelerations in the number of cases and we would be foolish to not prepare for a similar scenario here in LA County.”

In addition, at the briefing, Ferrer announced that the death of a minor that yesterday county health officials attributed to COVID-19, has been removed from the death total.

“On further investigation…there were extenuating circumstances that pointed to an alternative diagnosis as well. So given that there is a possibility of two diagnoses as causing the death, we have asked the CDC in Atlanta to perform some additional testing so that we can with all certainty know what the cause of death was,” Ferrer said.

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