LA County Declares a Coronavirus Emergency

Cases in the county stand at 7
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2020 12:48 PM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2020 3:48 PM CST
LA County Declares a Coronavirus Emergency
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, announces that six new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the county, where there was one previously.   (AP Photo/Stafanie Dazio)

On Tuesday night, six new novel coronavirus cases were confirmed in Los Angeles County, bringing the total to seven. On Wednesday, the county declared an emergency, which the Los Angeles Times explains "is designed to better marshal resources from across government agencies and give the fight against the virus more focus." Indeed, at a news conference LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger reiterated that "this is not a response rooted in panic. We need every tool at our disposal." None of the six cases were incidents of "community transmission," local health officials explained, per the Long Beach Post, but rather had close contact with an infected person.

Three had been to northern Italy, two had contact with a relative not from LA County who had the virus, and one's job involves interaction with travelers. All are quarantined at home except for one, who is in the hospital. Also Wednesday, California reported its first coronavirus death, though this was on the opposite end of the state in Placer County. The patient was elderly, had underlying health conditions, and had likely been exposed on a cruise, CNN reports. More developments:

  • The WHO was out Wednesday with a new death-rate estimate, reports the AP: "Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
  • The AP also reports that lawmakers have agreed upon $8.3 billion in spending to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. The House passed the bipartisan measure Wednesday, with the Senate pushing to do the same this week, likely on Thursday. President Trump is expected to sign the measure, which includes $800 million for research related to vaccines, drugs, and tests; $1 billion for reimbursing state and local governments; and $500 million to purchase medical supplies like medication and masks.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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