Coronavirus deaths surpass 3,000 as LA County OKs reopening bars, nail salons, tattoo parlors
Bars, spectator-free racetracks and nail salons are among the businesses that Los Angeles County announced can reopen this week. Health officials broke the news in a statement released on Thursday, June 18 — the same day the county surpassed 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
LA County Public Health announced 36 new deaths and 1,051 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. There are now 78,227 total cases and 3,027 total deaths from the disease.
Of those who died, 26 people were older than 65, 25 of whom had underlying health conditions; seven were between the ages of 41 and 65, six of whom had underlying health conditions; and one person was between 18 and 40-years-old.
The mid-day report did not include updated numbers for the cities of Pasadena and Long Beach, which each operate their own health departments. Long Beach’s death toll remained at 116, but the city added 105 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases identified so far to 2,888. Pasadena reported 16 new cases for a total of 1,099, but added no deaths to its total of 86.
Although businesses are reopening, vigilance around protection from coronavirus shouldn’t ease up, officials said.
“COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the county, and we are all feeling exhausted by the safety requirements, yet we still have to find it within ourselves to do our part to protect each other from the spread of the virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a news release, “As more sectors re-open, we risk losing all the progress we have made in slowing the spread, if we don’t take every precaution possible to prevent exposing others and ourselves to the virus.”
County public health officials will issue a new health order Friday, June 19 to allow these sectors to reopen with guidelines for infection control:
- Bars, wineries, breweries and tasting rooms;
- Nail salons;
- Body art professionals, tattoo parlors, micro-blading and permanent make-up and piercing shops;
- Massage therapists;
- Satellite wagering facilities;
- Racetracks with no spectators;
- Estheticians, skin care and cosmetology services;
- And electrology services.
Employees and visitors will need to wear face coverings and practice physical distance; some employees may need to wear face shields.
The specific protocol for each type of business will be in the Friday modified health order, officials said.
Los Angeles County has had a long-standing order requiring residents to wear masks whenever they are mingling with other people outside of their own households. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday codified that order statewide, mandating face masks for people in practically all situations when they are outside of their homes and near other people.
The number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County has slowly risen over the course of the week, but not dramatically. County health director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, however, the number has been generally holding steady, and is down dramatically from the early days of the pandemic.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, said the local transmission rate has also remained stable, and there was no immediate fear of hospitals being overwhelmed with patients.
The rate of people who are tested who wind up being positive for COVID-19 is also holding steady at 8%, officials said.
But they warned that people should not get complacent — stressing the virus is still spreading in the community and residents need to keep taking precautions, even as the economy reopens.
“Given that the vast majority of those living in Los Angeles County are still susceptible to COVID-19 and the infection, we need to rely on a refined set of practices that allow us to get back to work and back to living our lives safely,” Ghaly said.