LA County officials looking to expand progress on reopening

LA County officials say they can now ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to move further into phase two of the state's reopening plan, with the reopening of dine-in restaurants and hair salons.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County is starting to see a decrease in the average daily death toll from coronavirus as well as a slight decrease in hospitalizations.

The county continues to see a high number of cases reported on a daily basis, but officials say that may be a positive development which is a reflection of significantly increased testing capacity.

LA County officials say they can now ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to move further into phase two of the state's reopening plan, with the reopening of dine-in restaurants and hair salons.

They say the county's capacity remains strong, with a healthy supply of personal protective gear, and increased capacity for contact tracing.

But officials maintain the July 4 goal hasn't moved up and want the public to know this will continue to be a slow process.

"For everybody who's reopening you know that there are protocols you need to adhere to and that may not be so simple," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health officer. "Which is why we've been saying all along, we are reopening, but I urge businesses and institutions to take their time to make sure when they are open they're doing it in as safe a manner as possible."

LA County on Wednesday reported 53 additional deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 2,195. The county reported 933 new cases bringing the total number of cases in LA County to 48,700. The county said 30 healthcare workers have lost their lives - 22 of those worked at skilled nursing homes, where Ferrer says there has been overall improvement in the numbers.

"We do continue to see a decline in the daily deaths of people who resided in skilled nursing facilities," Ferrer said. "As of yesterday, there was an average of seven deaths per day which is still tragic, but this compares to an average of 21 deaths per day one week ago and 25 deaths per day three weeks ago."

Wednesday morning, Newsom held an online discussion with members of the fitness industry to develop guidelines for reopening which he said would happen within a week or so. Some of the fitness representatives talked about their ability to pivot to online courses, but many expressed the hardship they've experienced.

"When you go to zero revenue you have to make tough decisions with people and so we had to lay off 3,127 people," said Francesca Schuler, CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs. "It was heartbreaking. People often think of the gym as the treadmill and the elliptical. But it's really the community and the motivation. We've done over 50,000 calls with our senior members to listen to their struggle with loneliness, not being able to move without some help."

When gyms do reopen, expect to see changes like employees and members wearing masks and frequent cleaning.
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