Mayor concedes Los Angeles reopened too quickly as coronavirus surges

A man takes food into a restaurant Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Burbank, Calif. The city of Burbank has closed off some streets in the downtown district to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor seating arrangements amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti admitted on Sunday that Los Angeles was reopening too quickly and warned again that the city was "on the verge" of new shutdown commands as the coronavirus in California continues to increase.

When Garcetti appeared on CNN, he was asked about a Los Angeles Times editorial criticizing the rapid reopening of California, followed by an increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"I agree that these things happened too quickly," Garcetti said, adding that decisions were made at the state and county levels, not by city officials.

The mayor said Los Angeles was "on the brink" of new widespread home-stay orders, with LA County continuing to record the largest increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in the state with a quarter of California's population.

California reported the fourth highest daily total number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 9,000 on Saturday. The state reported another 120 deaths.

Last week Garcetti said he would not hesitate to close all but the essential business. These comments came days after California Governor Gavin Newsom closed bars and restaurants nationwide and ordered the closure of hair salons, gyms, malls, and other indoor shops in Los Angeles and other counties where most viruses had occurred.

Garcetti told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that Los Angeles currently has sufficient hospital capacity and a good supply of ventilators.

Los Angeles County reported a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals last week, and the overall percentage of positive tests rose from 8% to almost 10%.

The mayor attributed the increase in prevalence not only to the reopening, but also to the fact that people were less vigilant about following public health guidelines and meeting with others outside their homes.

"It's not just what's open and closed," he said. "It's also about what we do individually."

Officials have repeated that people have to wear masks and maintain social distance to slow the spread.

In other news about the California outbreak:

– Officials said 15 children in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with a rare but serious and potentially fatal inflammatory syndrome that is believed to be related to the coronavirus. Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C can cause various parts of the body to become inflamed. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. 73% of the children were Latinos, which is a disproportionate burden for the ethnic group, the Los Angeles Times reported.

– Merced County in central California has not been tracking contacts for weeks, according to Merced Sun-Star. Kristyn Sullivan, the county’s surveillance epidemiologist, said the county is currently only conducting case studies – he is targeting infected people to quarantine them, but does not ask about their close contacts or any locations they have been in recently were. She said that interviewing people about their contacts has become ineffective because there are too many cases. CalMatters turned to 27 California counties with increasing infections to inquire about the extent of contact tracking. Merced was the only one to confirm in June that it was no longer carried out, although six did not respond. The other 21 said they were chasing most people, or at least some.

– Napa County, north of San Francisco, will be fined $ 25 to $ 500 for people who do not wear masks. County regulators passed a regulation last week, which may include fines of up to $ 5,000 for companies that receive repeated complaints about people who don't have facewear. The quotes are a last resort for repeat offenders only and are issued by code enforcement officers, not law enforcement officers, KPIX-TV reported.


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