Local Officials Order Businesses In “Non-Critical” Sectors To Close Offices

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On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom, citing rising coronavirus numbers, ordered indoor operations for restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, zoos, fitness centers, places of worship, indoor protests, tattoo shops, nail and hair salons and indoor malls to close in Southern California. Bars must close all operations.

The governor announced that he is requiring all California counties to close indoor operations for their restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, zoos and bars.

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Southern California counties face additional specific closure orders, as outlined in Newsom’s tweet below.

Just minutes later, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced that the indoor closure list includes “offices for all non-critical sectors.”

That comes after the health department closed a Downtown L.A. clothing factory over the weekend after 300 of its employees became infected.

The L.A. County Health web site directs users to the state site for a definition of “essential workforce” sectors, from which one can conceivably figure out what “non-critical” sectors.

The state site says essential sectors include employees in these these categories who cannot work from home: health care providers and caregivers; emergency services sector employees, such as police and firefighters; food production, processing, and delivery; the energy sector; the water and wastewater; transportation and logistics; communications and IT; government operations; critical manufacturing of transportation products, components and machinery; financial services; chemical and hazardous services; defense; and industrial, commercials and personal sheltering services.

Ferrer announced 13 additional deaths on Monday, for a total of 3,822 in L.A. County. She then went on to emphasize that the recent decline in deaths was likely due to a decline in COVID-related fatalities in skilled nursing homes. Deaths in the outside world, she noted, had not fallen. Ferrer said she expected the number of deaths among the populace-at-large to rise, given that deaths are a lagging indictor.

“Everything is pointing toward an alarming trend,” said Ferrer. “While our death rate has been relatively stable, we will soon see corresponding increases in deaths.”

According to the county health department, 2,593 new COVID-19 cases had been discovered in the past 24-hours, for a total 136,129. The day before, health officials reported a near one-day record for new cases at 3,322.

The department did not immediately release test positivity numbers or numbers of COVID patients in hospital and ICU beds, but Ferrer did say admissions are happening “at a much higher rate.”

The latter is especially important, since the department revealed on Friday that there were only 113 hospital beds available in the county, not including potential surge beds that could be pressed into service. Extrapolation from Sunday’s report seems to indicate that that total had dwindled even further.

A Health Department COVID dashboard later indicated that 2,056 people were currently hospitalized due to coronavirus and 576 COVID-infected patients in ICU. Back-of-the envelope calculations comparing Friday’s numbers with Monday’s indicate that the county is down to roughly 74 ICU beds, minus the above-mentioned surge capacity. That’s for a county with a population of 10 million.

Newsom, for his part, indicated concern about ICU numbers on Monday. “This continues to be a disease that puts people in our ICUs and our hospitals,” he said, “and is currently putting a strain on our hospital system and our ICUs.”

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