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COVID cases surge and leader urge caution

Cases of COVID-19 continue to surge throughout the Westside, prompting Santa Monica and Los Angeles County leaders to call on residents to heed the rules of the most recent safer-at-home order.

Less than 24 hours after reporting a record-high of new cases in the county, County Health Director Barbara Ferrer returned to the podium Wednesday to share how recent case counts have surpassed the peak caseloads seen this summer.

“From November 1 through November 22, three weeks, the average daily cases increased by 225% from 1,223 to 3,976. And this past week-and-a-half, we’ve seen this average jump to over 5,000 cases per day,” Ferrer said as she referred to the graphs of her powerpoint, which detailed how the death rate amongst Latinos who are essential workers has doubled in less than two weeks.

“If you still doubt that the science is solid, take a look at what’s happening in states where there are no requirements or controls.” Ultimately, these states are experiencing surges in case rates that are far beyond what California is experiencing, Ferrer added, stating, “Safety measures work in slowing the spread.”

Ferrer’s call to quarantine featured similar remarks made during Tuesday night’s meeting with Interim City Manager Lane Dilg and city officials, who met online to discuss the health order’s new restrictions with residents and other local stakeholders.

“We hope that across the county people will take this seriously so that we will see the numbers get back to a safe space, and that outdoor dining we’ll be able to open again soon. But at this stage of the pandemic — in the county, across the state and nationally — based on the health care system of hospital beds and the cases that they are seeing, L.A. County Public Health did make the determination that outdoor dining needed to close in this moment,” Dilg said before she shared California is now slated to receive doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by mid-December.

“This is very good news,” Dilg added, stating she believes residents will soon see access to vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna as well as some other companies. “As those are distributed we are starting to see the news with respect to how the vaccines will be distributed and to what populations. We do anticipate that the CDC’s guidance will be purely guidance and that the states will then make determinations as to how to distribute. And we have heard from the governor that we should expect distribution to start with our healthcare workers and emergency responders who have close contact with those who are confirmed with COVID… Thus shoring up our health care system which of course is the most important thing in terms of saving lives and providing care.”

However, Dilg said, “the primary message we want to send is that we do need the community to take seriously the moment that we’re in, in the pandemic. And that we are very much moving closer to reopening, to the bright future, and to the horizon that we can now see ahead. So, if we can come together around this (health order), we really look forward to seeing those COVID numbers go down; seeing the stabilization of our health care system; reopening outdoor dining as soon as the county will let us; and continuing to facilitate our residents enjoyment of our beautiful outdoor space; and our local businesses operating in our environment.”

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