LA County health director says coronavirus restrictions could come back if safety measures not followed

Dr. Barbara Ferrer discussed the easing of restrictions and what it could mean for the future of county sporting events and LAUSD.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has outlined a five-stage road map to recovery from COVID-19. The county's public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer was this week's guest on Eyewitness Newsmakers and gave a more detailed overview of the stages for easing the "safer at home" orders.

Ferrer called the Mother's Day weekend's modification of the COVID-19 order a "soft opening," adding if safe practices are not followed, restrictions will be imposed again.

"We cannot continue to reopen if in fact we're starting to overwhelm our health care system, where we no longer have capacity to protect our most vulnerable residents who live in nursing homes for example," she said. "If we see explosions of cases, that's an indication that we have to slow down, and maybe even in some cases, or reverse some of the restrictions that have been lifted."

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The fourth stage includes reopening conventions, stadiums and other spectator events like concerts. The facilities will not be sellouts.

"Our sporting events, our conventions, they all bring in people that are not necessarily residents here in L.A. County, so we would do this very carefully," Ferrer said. Even in stage four, safe practices will be in place. "This is not, you know, we're going to Dodger Stadium and there'll be 50,000 people there. That just would not be happening in stage four. We would again see limited occupancy."

Ferrer thinks it is very possible that LAUSD can reopen by August 18 as planned and other L.A. County school districts can open on their fall class schedule, but there will be major changes in procedures.

Ferrer explained, "We're working with the superintendents. We want them to be able to put their plans in place. You know we are not post COVID-19. What we are is in the middle of COVID-19, in the middle of the pandemic. So, every single thing that reopens, reopens with some significant modifications."

Ferrer reacts to protesters who say the "safer at home" order is unnecessary, urging that all restrictions be lifted.

"This is not a hoax. We started the month of April with 78 deaths, and we ended the month of April with over 1,100 people dead," she said. "That's serious. More people die of COVID-19 every day here in L.A. County right now than they die of any other disease."

The public health director concluded, "I think we all owe it to ourselves and the people we love, and the community we care about, the entire community here, to do our best to keep each other safe."

For more on L.A. County's COVID-19 policy and plans, click here.
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