LOCAL COVERAGE: LA County Declares Coronavirus Health Emergency

LA County officials confirm six new cases of the coranavirus in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, making a total of seven known cases including the initial contraction in January which has prompted a declaration of health emergency

With seven total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Los Angeles County officially declared a health emergency.

On the steps if the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, LA city officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Director of the LA County Department of Public Health, Barbara Ferrer, new information that was verified Tuesday night was released to the public concerning a small group if individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Officials elucidated that this was not an example of a genuine outbreak, but rather unrelated cases that were the product of close contact exposure through travel from a known location with an outbreak, or contact with a traveler from an outbreak source.

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The initial case of coronavirus that was identified in January was said to be unrelated to the newer infections.

Chair for the LA County Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger, clarified that “this is not a response rooted in panic. We need every tool at our disposal,” indicating the announcement made was a call for resources in preventative efforts against the coronavirus.

With an increasing number of counties in the state of California, including Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and neighboring Orange County, declaring health emergencies – an act of solidarity in preemptive measures – the strategy is to allow for assistance from either the state or participating counties if local resources are depleted.

Though no confirmed deaths have been caused by COVID-19 in California, Washington state has already tallied nine, making the west coast the only region in the U.S. to have suffered any fatalities as a result of the virus.

Overall, 130 cases are known to be verified nationally in 13 states, with Florida, Georgia and Rhode Island being amongst the most recent.