Los Angeles County announced a new lockdown on Friday, as cases of COVID-19 contamination unexpectedly surged in the most densely populated county in the United States.
The new three-week lockdown will come into effect on Monday, after 24 new deaths and 4,544 new COVID-19 cases were identified in less than 24 hours.
Health authorities had set a threshold of 4,500 cases per day over a five-day period to order further containment, a threshold they expected to reach only next month. However, the five-day average of new cases reported on Friday was 4,751.
We know we ask a lot of those who have sacrificed for monthssaid Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
It is essential to act in the collective emergency now if we are to end this outbreak.
The decree advises residents to stay at home
as much as possible and cover their face when they go out. It prohibits meetings between participants who do not live at the same address, for both public and private gatherings.
Exceptions are nevertheless provided for religious services as well as demonstrations,
which are constitutionally protected rightsthe county public health department said in a statement.
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Retail businesses, which generate a large portion of their turnover during the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods, are allowed to remain open, but with limited capacity, including nail salons and other services personal care. As for the restaurants, they will only be able to offer take-out meals.
Beaches, trails and parks will remain open, depending on the sanitary measures imposed.
The confinement in effect until December 20 is less severe than that of mid-March, when schools and most businesses were ordered to be closed. In addition, it drastically restricted movement, except for essential workers or to perform basic tasks, such as purchasing provisions or medicine.
The number of cases of contamination has picked up again this summer. It has reached unprecedented levels in most states in recent weeks.
In California, the number of daily cases has reached record highs in recent days. Hospitalizations across the state have increased by more than 80% in the past two weeks.
Nearly 2,000 people in Los Angeles County are currently hospitalized. Public health officials are bracing for a surge of cases relating to Thanksgiving gatherings.