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L.A. County coronavirus cases rise to 144: Here’s what you need to know

A woman wearing a medical face mask
Lydia Alvisures waits in line at the United Local 11 food bank Tuesday March 17.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

With more coronavirus testing, the number of cases in Los Angeles County continues to grow rapidly.

L.A. County now has more than 144 cases as of Tuesday, an increase of 50. Officials have said the public should assume there are coronavirus patients in their neighborhood, some of whom might not know they’re sick.

Here is the latest:

SCHOOLS: The Los Angeles school district on Tuesday was ramping up “grab and go” food services to help feed more than half a million children displaced by the closing of schools due to the coronavirus outbreak. Starting on Wednesday, parents and students can pick up food at 60 sites scattered throughout the nation’s second-largest school district. A complete list and map of locations in Los Angeles and information about other resources have been published on the district website.

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CITY COUNCIL: A Los Angeles City Council meeting was held with new measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19: Amid the unprecedented shutdown of Los Angeles businesses and schools, city officials erected a tent outside City Hall so the public could watch the meeting on a video screen and comment remotely to the city’s 15 council members. Several speakers complained about the setup, arguing it was unfair and disenfranchising.

BLOOD SUPPLY: Officials said there’s been a decline in blood donations. Nearly 160 blood drives have recently been canceled, resulting in 5,500 fewer blood donations. Officials are asking those who are healthy to continue to make a donation, which has a shelf-life of roughly 42 days.

STAY HOME IF SICK: Los Angeles County Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer stressed the need for people to stay home, especially anyone who is sick. “If you’re sick and you’re an essential worker, please don’t come to work,” she said. “We cannot have people that are sick, even with mild illness, going about their business.”

Here is general guidance from the county:

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  • Event organizers postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings of 50 or more until at least the end of March.
  • For gatherings of less than 50 people, social distancing measures must be followed.
  • Limit gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (people older than 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness) to no more than 10 people.
  • This guidance does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services, including public transportation, airport travel or shopping.
  • If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.
  • Exclude employees and visitors with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms and visitors with recent travel to any country or region with significant community transmission (including communities in the US) from all schools, businesses, and gatherings of any size.
  • Follow all social distancing recommendations issued by Public Health.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, public gatherings, and places where large groups of people congregate.

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