LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Mayor Eric Garcetti conceded Sunday that Los Angeles reopened too quickly and again warned that the city was “on the brink” of new shutdown orders as the coronavirus continues to surge in California.
Appearing on CNN, Garcetti was asked about a Los Angeles Times editorial that criticized the rapid reopening of California, which was followed by a spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“I do agree those things happened too quickly,” Garcetti said, adding that the decisions were made at the state and county levels, not by city officials.
The mayor said Los Angeles was on the verge of new widespread stay-at-home orders as L.A. County, with a quarter of California’s population, continued to see the state’s largest increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.
California reported on Saturday its fourth-highest daily total of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 9,000. The state also reported an additional 120 deaths.
Last week, Garcetti said he wouldn’t hesitate to again shut down all non-essential businesses. Those comments came days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom shut bars and indoor dining statewide, and ordered closures of hair salons, gyms, malls and other indoor businesses in Los Angeles and other counties experiencing the most significant surge of virus cases.
Garcetti told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that Los Angeles currently has adequate hospital capacity and a good supply of ventilators.
L.A. County reported a record-high number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals last week, and the overall share of tests that have come back positive jumped from 8% to nearly 10%. On Sunday, county officials confirmed 2,800 new COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths, extending the total number of coronavirus deaths to nearly 4,100.
The mayor attributed the increase in spread not just to the reopenings, but also to people becoming less vigilant about following public health guidance and gathering with others outside their households.
“It’s not just what’s open and closed. It’s also about what we do individually,” he said. “It’s about the people who are getting together outside of their households, with people they might know. It might be their extended family, it might be friends. They might think because they got a test two weeks ago that it’s OK, but it’s not. This virus preys on our division, it preys when we get exhausted, it preys on us in those moments when we don’t have a unified national front, or we as individuals think, oh, this ain’t gonna be a big deal.”
Officials have reiterated that people must wear masks and maintain physical distancing to slow the spread.
Additionally, the response comes as COVID-19 cases are surging among younger people, with 53% of new cases confirmed in people under the age of 41.
In other news about the outbreak in California:
- Officials said a rare but serious and potentially deadly inflammatory syndrome believed to be associated with the coronavirus has been identified in 15 children in Los Angeles County. Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. Of the children, 73% were Latino, representing a disproportionate burden for the ethnic group, the Los Angeles Times reported.
- Tests of Yosemite National Park’s raw sewage confirmed the presence of the coronavirus and dozens of people are believed to have been infected, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. No park employee or resident has tested positive at the park’s health clinic, and no visitors have reported being sick since Yosemite began a phased reopening on June 11. But Biobot Analytics, the lab that analyzed the sewage, told the county last week that based on how much of the virus they counted, it’s possible about 170 people were infected in Yosemite Valley.
- The number of coronavirus cases at a San Francisco Bay Area jail more than doubled in 24 hours, jumping from 40 to 101 cases. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Friday the outbreak swept through two housing units at Santa Rita Jail and that the majority of cases were asymptomatic.