During a press conference on Monday afternoon, LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer urged residents to stay home this week if at all possible, foregoing any shopping trips or any needs to leave the house in an effort to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus. “If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping all together,” said Ferrer, as county officials announced 15 new deaths and 147 total COVID-19-related deaths.
Ferrer added that those with higher risks, including those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly, should stay home except for medical visits. The health director also asked those without those health risks to aid in providing supplies and groceries to those who must stay home, dropping off necessities at the door and keeping social distance.
This has major implications for those who’ve left the house to shop for groceries or even pick up takeout food. County and city officials haven’t gone so far as to suggest limiting takeout food excursions or instructing food delivery drivers to cease. In fact, Ferrer encouraged residents specifically today to take advantage of delivery services for groceries (and by implication, prepared restaurant food) in order to reduce exposure.
The recommendation to skip shopping unless truly essential comes amid nearly 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state of California and over 6,000 cases in LA County. “We have some very difficult days ahead, and now is the time for all of us to redouble our physical distancing efforts,” said Ferrer. “As we expect to see a significant increase in cases over the next few weeks, we are asking that everyone avoid leaving their homes for anything except the most urgent matters.”
County officials also suggested wearing cloth masks whenever residents were out in public getting essential supplies and services, but said that the masks didn’t necessarily protect people from becoming infected with COVID-19. Ferrer stressed that the only way to protect against COVID-19 was staying isolated at home. Officials also asked citizens to refrain from using medical-grade N95 or surgical masks, which should only be used by healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers providing service for people who are ill.