UPDATED 13/5, 4:50 p.m. ET: L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer clarified her earlier assertion that L.A.'s stay at home orders would continue through July, and apologized for causing "confusion."
Per Deadline, Ferrer said that the restrictions would loosen moving forward, but remain in place on some level. "I had no intention of messaging that we weren’t changing our order to reflect our recovery journey," she added.
See original story below.
Los Angeles County residents will have to observe stay-at-home orders for at least several more months, officials announced Tuesday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced the move during a Board Supervisors Meeting, just days after the county began loosening its coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The director reportedly said the order will "with all certainty" remain in place for the next three months unless there is a "dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand."
"Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months," Ferrer said.
L.A. County's "safer-at-home order," which launched back in March, was was set to expire Friday, May 15. County officials eased a number of restrictions under "phase 2" last week, allowing retail stores to expand their curbside services as well as reopening hiking trails and parks to the public. The move came as L.A. County sees its number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise. According to government data, the county tallied 32,258 confirmed cases and 1,569 deaths as of Monday. By comparison, there are currently more than 67,000 confirmed cases and over 2,700 virus-related deaths in the entire state of California.
Ferrer said officials plan to continue easing lockdown guidelines over the next three months at a slow pace, due to the lack of coronavirus testing. The Times reports that out of L.A. County' 10 million residents, more than 240,000 have been tested for the disease. Though county health experts say social distancing has helped mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Ferrer emphasized the importance of staying at home as COVID-19 is still highly contagious.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has warned lawmakers about the dangers of reopening schools and the economy too soon.
"There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control," he said about a premature reopening, "and, in fact paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery."