L.A. County Coronavirus Update: Death Toll Tops 1,000; Gov. Gavin Newsom, L.A. Officials Set Prerequisites For Reopening

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 59 new deaths and 597 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

To date, the county has identified 20,976 positive cases of COVID-19, while mortalities have reached the grim milestone of 1,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, public officials began to cautiously talk about reopening.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that officials are contemplating a July or August start for the fall school term. “We have made no decisions,” Newsom said at his daily briefing, but noted officials “recognize there’s been a learning loss.”

Newsom also revealed a “California Resilience Roadmap,” which plots out a four-stage reopening. According to the Roadmap, the state is currently at stage one.

The next stage will be “gradually reopening low-risk workplaces,” such as retail, manufacturing, offices and more public spaces. These first reopenings could happen within weeks. Movie theaters and sporting events (without crowds) would open in stage 3.

In a related move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today to set up an “economic resiliency task force” to “balance the science with the recovery,” according to Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The task force will consider assistance and incentives to boost the economy, including tax credits, infrastructure investment and Community Development Block Grant funding. It will also consider a permanent 501(c)(3) fund to raise private dollars to address economic insecurity.

The county’s four key prerequisites for loosening restrictions, announced Friday, include:

1. Adequate health care capacity, including staffing and testing and stocks of ventilators and other critical supplies

2. Protections for high-risk populations, including the elderly, homeless, those living in institutional settings

3. Increased capacity to quickly test, isolate and quarantine anyone with symptoms

4. The ability to maintain physical distancing and control the infection

Supervisor Janice Hahn said residents should not expect big changes in the short term.

“I would caution everyone from thinking that we have the end in sight … it’s not the case,” said Hahn, noting that there is vaccine against COVID-19 or a therapeutic drug to treat the virus. That means residents will still need to be cautious and take protective measures, Hahn said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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