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Coronavirus Today: We know what to do

Good evening. I’m Diya Chacko, and it’s Wednesday, June 24. Here’s what’s happening with the coronavirus in California and beyond.

Infections and hospitalizations are growing across the United States, despite the fact that we know the very basics of what we must do to protect ourselves: Don’t let the coronavirus jump from one person to another. The virus needs people to share the same air, touch common surfaces and gather together without masks in order to spread.

California’s mandatory mask order is a sign that Gov. Gavin Newsom and his health advisors are worried people aren’t being careful in stepping back into the world, even as he made the decision to allow counties to move at their own pace once they met state benchmarks.

For the second day in a row, California logged another record number of daily coronavirus infections. A staggering 6,652 new cases were reported Tuesday, leading officials to voice concerns over whether the state is losing the battle against COVID-19.

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California has also seen a 29% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past 14 days and a nearly 20% increase in virus patients being treated in intensive care units, Newsom said Wednesday. “This virus knows no boundaries, and it knows no age cohort,” he said during the briefing in Sacramento. “That’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us to step things up to the extent we can, be more vigilant.”

He also warned that counties that fail to abide by the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, including the mask order, could face funding cuts. “We hope we never have to trigger that,” he said.

Even as it reopens, California is unlikely to recover its pre-coronavirus prosperity over the next three years, economists say. A new UCLA forecast predicts gradual economic recovery will probably mirror the nation’s trajectory, looking something like a “Nike swoosh.” Yet that gradual return to normal activity is based on a somewhat optimistic scenario — that the COVID-19 pandemic will subside, avoiding a pause in the recovery or another wave of shutdowns.

The Times’ graphics team is tracking California unemployment. You can see the latest figures here.

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By the numbers

California cases and deaths as of 4:30 p.m. PDT Wednesday:

Nearly 194,900 California cases and at least 5,714 deaths as of 4:30 p.m. PDT Wednesday, June 24.
(Compiled by L.A. Times Graphics)

Track the latest numbers and how they break down in California with our graphics.

The Newsom administration's roadmap to reopening California.
(Priya Krishnakumar/Los Angeles Times)
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See which counties are reopening with our tracker.

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Across California

Four suburban Southern California counties are among those primarily responsible for the dangerous rise in the state’s hospitalizations, according to a Times data analysis. Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties have seen significant upticks in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in recent weeks. The causes for the spikes are not fully known, but some health officials are blaming social gatherings.

Residents of Los Angeles County say they have struggled to secure COVID-19 testing appointments recently. On Tuesday, county officials confirmed that there were no appointments available at the more than 40 sites run by the city, county and state. Some residents who attended the mass protests against police violence say they fear that the window to learn whether they contracted the disease is narrowing quickly.

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While Yosemite National Park had kept most campsites closed, opening only Upper Pines Campground (at reduced capacity) and Wawona Horse Camp on June 11, it left many reservations for later in the summer in place. Now it has canceled most July reservations, and campers can’t be sure about August. But ski resorts in Southern California and Mammoth Lakes have opened their trails for mountain biking and made dozens of changes to keep riders and employees safe. Starting Friday, about 80% of trails will be open at Mammoth Bike Park, and Big Bear Lake’s downhill Snow Summit Bike Park is open daily for the summer, although some features are unavailable.

Disneyland won’t reopen July 17 as previously planned, but it’s still not clear when it will. Walt Disney Co. indicated it is in talks with its employee unions, some of which have raised concerns about the park reopening as cases keep rising.

Resources

— For general safety, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (here’s a super-fun how-to video). Stop touching your face, and keep your phone clean. Practice social distancing, maintaining a six-foot radius of personal space in public. And wear a mask if you leave home. Here’s how to do it right.
— Watch for symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. If you’re worried you might be infected, call your doctor or urgent care clinic before going there.
— Need a COVID-19 test? Here’s how to receive a free test if you’re in L.A. County. And here’s a map of testing sites across California.
— Here’s how to care for someone with COVID-19, from monitoring their symptoms to preventing the virus’ spread.
— If your job has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, here’s how to file for unemployment.
— Here are some free resources for restaurant workers and entertainment industry professionals having trouble making ends meet.
— Advice for helping kids navigate pandemic life includes being honest about uncertainties, acknowledging their feelings and sticking to a routine. Here’s guidance from the CDC.
— In need of mental health services? Here are resources for coping during the crisis from the CDC and the L.A. County Department of Public Health. L.A. County residents can also call (800) 854-7771 or text “LA” to 741741.
Tempted to go out now that the economy is reopening? Here’s how you can assess your risk.

Around the nation and the world

Beginning Thursday, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will require visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, the three governors said. Violators in New York could face a fine. The announcement comes as summer travel to the states’ beaches, parks and other attractions would normally swing into high gear.

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Nevada has instituted its own mandatory mask order. Starting Friday, people must wear masks when they are indoors in a public place. That means visitors to Las Vegas’ many hotels and casinos must cover their faces except when eating or drinking.

As for international travel, Americans are unlikely to be allowed into Europe when the European Union reopens external borders next week, owing to how the pandemic is flaring in the U.S. Outbreaks in Brazil, India and Russia are exploding as well, making it likely that the EU won’t allow visitors from those countries either.

The National Women’s Soccer League is the first professional sports league to return to play during the pandemic. That puts it in the spotlight — the June 26 match between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns is the first women’s club game to be shown live on a national broadcast network — but also under a microscope. “Being the first league doing this, if something goes wrong, other sports or leagues can learn from this,” Portland midfielder Rocky Rodríguez said. “But at the same time I think’s a great opportunity to get a lot of people to follow women’s soccer in the U.S.

Your questions answered

Today’s question comes from readers who want to know: What are the resources for people experiencing domestic violence? Reporter Nicole Santa Cruz looked into it.

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Calls to Los Angeles County’s domestic violence hotline have risen during the pandemic, as have calls to the Los Angeles Police Department. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, here are some available resources.

The Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with service for several different languages. The number is (800) 978-3600. The providers can help you access counseling and legal services, formulate a safety plan, connect to a shelter or get a referral for medical services.

Because of the pandemic, the city and county of Los Angeles have worked with local providers nearly to double shelter capacity for domestic violence survivors and their families through an initiative called Project Safe Haven, according to the mayor’s office. City officials said that no one will ask about survivors’ immigration status. Transportation is also available.

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence has a map of organizations across the state, along with hotline numbers and websites. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or TTY (800) 787-3224.

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For those who decide to call the police: If you call or text 911, a specialized domestic violence LAPD unit or a patrol car — depending on availability — will come to your home. If the unit arrives, an advocate should connect you to domestic violence resources or services such as shelter and safety planning. If you don’t want a patrol officer to come to your house, some LAPD stations allow people to make an appointment with an officer, said an LAPD detective.

Got a question? Our reporters covering the coronavirus outbreak want to hear from you. Email us your questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them. You can find more answers in our Frequently Asked Questions roundup and on our coronavirus roundup page.

For the most up-to-date coronavirus coverage from The Times, visit our homepage and our Health section, listen to our “Coronavirus in California” podcast and follow us on Twitter and on Instagram.


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