Coronavirus news update: Thursday, March 19

Here are some of the top headlines for stories on coronavirus in Southern California and nationwide for Thursday, March 19.

California health officials predicted that about 56% of the state's population, about 22.5 million people, will be infected with the novel coronavirus within the next eight weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a letter to President Donald Trump.

The number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County has risen to 230, continuing to rise sharply every day.

Health officials in Southern California were looking for quarantine sites to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus, and Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey appeared to be a location that could be used for temporary housing to quarantine people.

On Thursday morning, an Orange County resident with COVID-19 arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a private air-ambulance. The flight from Aruba arrived at the airport around 11 a.m. and was carrying the 65-year-old patient in a negative pressure isolation chamber, according to an air rescue company.

Most restaurant dining rooms across Southern California are empty of customers due to health department orders. But many people who have found grocery store shelves bare are still being fed by their favorite eateries.

As the pandemic continues to hamper the U.S. economy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed direct payments of $1,200 per person and $2,400 for couples as part of a sweeping Republican response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by The Associated Press. The GOP leader unveiled his plan Thursday as Congress raced to craft a $1 trillion rescue package to shore up households, healthcare and the U.S. economy amid the pandemic crisis and nationwide shutdown that's hurtling the country toward a likely recession.

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