L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (May 26, 2020)

California COVID-19 Guidance: Week in Review

Reopening Timeline and the L.A. County Economic Resiliency Task Force

This week marked the beginning of a transition towards reopening at the County level, with increasing focus on ways to alleviate the economic impacts of COVID-19. On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, the County held a meeting of its Economic Resiliency Task Force, chaired by Supervisor Kathryn Barger. This task force, which includes representatives from 12 industry sectors as well as all five County Supervisors, is tasked with preparing the County to safely and efficiently reopen for business.

Notably, Supervisor Barger announced that the County is working towards a July 4 date for a full reopening of businesses and moving through all four phases of the Governor’s Roadmap. This timeline is based on reports from each of the Task Force’s 12 sectors being submitted by June 30, 2020. Supervisor Barger noted that Department of Public Health staff would be consulted in the preparation of each sector report, but that the Task Force was setting the timeline and July 4 goal.

Meeting the Governor’s Variance Criteria

As the Board moves to develop plans to alleviate the economic impacts of COVID-19, County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted this week that health outcomes and resources to address COVID-19 are improving:

•  R (infection rate) is now below 1 (each positive patient is infecting only one additional person);

•  Based on the most recent USC serology study, the prevalence of COVID-19 in the County may be declining (from 4.1% to 2.1% in most recent testing round);

•  Seven-day average of deaths is decreasing and is now 37 (12% decrease from the prior seven-day average);

•  Three-day hospitalization average is 1,532 people (15% decrease);

•  Hospitals have adequate supply of beds, ventilators and most PPE;
      •  For example, 86% of hospitals have 15-day supply of N95 masks.

•  The County has not yet hit its testing goal of 15,000 per day, but is moving quickly towards it;
      •  Seven-day average is over 13,000.

•  The County is currently meeting its contact tracing target of tracking contacts for each new case within one day.

L.A. City Budget

On May 20–21, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council held meetings to consider the Mayor’s Proposed 2020–21 Budget. The Council heard a report from the Chief Administrative Officer on the impacts of the Mayor’s planned furlough program, revenue impacts due to COVID-19 and proposed reductions to departments across the City. Major impacts include the proposed 10% furlough of civilian workers, cuts to “non-essential” services like tree planting and graffiti removal, and cuts to Department of Cultural Affairs programs.

Going forward, it will be important to watch incoming City tax revenues to see if they meet the Mayor’s budget projections. If revenues are more severely impacted by COVID-19 or an oncoming recession and come in lower than projected, the final budget may include more significant cuts.

The City’s new fiscal year begins July 1, 2020.

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