Mayor Eric Garcetti seemed optimistic that social distancing measures were proving effective and said he believed “the curve really is beginning to flatten,” even suggesting that easing restrictions under the city’s safer-at-home order could be weeks away.
Testing capabilities were continuing to increase, according to Garcetti, who said asymptomatic essential workers including delivery, ride-hail and taxi drivers, as well as journalists, will now be able to be tested for the virus.
“These are folks that are on the front line, helping us get where we need to go, delivering food to our apartments,” he said.
Garcetti also announced the city’s implementation of a program announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week that would pay out-of-work restaurant employees to cook meals for seniors. The mayor said the program would put 150 people back to work immediately. Depending on their income level, people who are either older than 65 or ages 60 to 64 with a preexisting medical condition may be eligible to receive meals from the program.
The city will pay for the meals, but those costs will later be partly reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state government, Newsom said last week.
Los Angeles County wrapped up a week in which the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus doubled.
That number continued to rise Monday, as county health officials confirmed an additional 29 deaths and 942 new coronavirus cases. Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said 11 of those deaths were among healthcare workers, and 92% of the nearly 950 individuals who have died in the county had underlying health issues.
Officials said that of those who died whose race and ethnicity has been identified, the death rate for African Americans is 13.2 per 100,000 people.
“This is significantly higher than the mortality rate of all other ethnicities and races,” Ferrer said.