LA Mayor Update: Update on Farmers' Markets, Progress on Testing

Ameera Butt
April 02, 2020 - 5:50 pm
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Mayor Garcetti gave a Friday update to the public.

He gave an update on farmers' markets, which had been asked to shut down in the past due to a lack of social distancing and crowds.

He said beaches and trails are still closed -- something that went into effect in March. He recapped how rent would not go up in any rent-stabilized apartments.

He said 31 farmers' markets have submitted plans to reopen again, and 16 farmers' markets will open this weekend.

He also gave an update on testing.

He said 16,000 people have been tested.

He said the city and county are up to 12 sites for testing and have the capacity to do 3,500 tests a day in this coming week.

Garcetti said with the 16,000 tests combined with 25,000 tests done by providers in the weeks before, they have now tested 40,000 Angelenos and expect to see about 30,000 total new tests between city, county and provider testing centers next week alone. 

He also gave an update on beds: 1,627 hospital beds are available including 286 ICU beds and 890 ventilators. 

He also gave an update on getting volunteers matched with nonprofits.

The website is http://Volunteer.LAMayor.org and click on “nonprofit directory” to add your nonprofit or find a place to get to work.

Mayor Garcetti was joined by Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Director of the LA County Dept. of Public Health, Thursday afternoon during a briefing.

He stressed the March Safer at Home order and said, "Thank you for doing your part to make sure lives are being saved through the actions you take."

He again stressed wearing a non-medical grade facial covering while out in public - and not an N95 mask. He again stressed to leave the N95 masks for the doctors and nurses and other health frontline workers.

Ferrer said she joins the mayor in "awe about the sacrifices everyone's making. The big changes people are adapting to."

"We are in this together and if we all do our part this will be a little easier. And if we are not able to do our part it will have tremendous implications in our community," she said.

She said that asymptomatic people can still be infectious and capable of spreading the virus. She stressed the six feet for social distancing.

"Keep your distance and it really helps limit the ability of other people to expose you to the virus," she said. "You need to take responsibility for trying not to expose others."

She stressed ordinary people and the public doesn't need N95 masks or medical masks -- leave those for the healthcare workers who need the masks to shield themselves from patients.

TESTING, RESTAURANT PICK-UP ZONES AND HOSPITAL BEDS:

Meanwhile, Garcetti gave an update on testing, saying daily testing stood at  2,100 tests bringing the total number of Angelenos who have been tested to 14,400. He said there are nine locations for testing. Three new sites will be open in LA County, including South Bay Galleria, Pomona and Antelope Valley, Friday. 

He said the Department of Transportation is installing temporary food pick-up parking zones near restaurants with new signage after restaurants apply for a food pick-up zone.

He said there are 1,664 hospital beds including 305 ICU beds, 1,050 ventilators. 

For more info you can find locations across the county at Coronavirus.LACity.org to find the sites.

On Wednesday, Garcetti said the Safer at Home order will likely go til May, past the April 19 date.

He said the testing capacity continues to expand with two more testing sites in the county. He said there are more than 2,000 tests daily. He said that overall drive-through centers have increased to nine.

He said by next Wednesday he hopes to see 30,000 tests.

Sign up to get tested for COVID-19 at coronavirus.lacity.org

FACE MASKS and FARMERS' MARKETS:

Garcetti wanted to talk about protective face coverings. He added there are two groups of people who need protective face coverings, the first being the frontline health care workers like doctors and nurses and other professionals. 

"There's another group of people and that's the rest of us," he said.

He recommended Angelenos use a non-medical face covering while in public but stressed everyone needs to stay at home.

"If you have to go out we recommend you use non-medical grade masks or facial coverings and not take the ones that are for first responders," he said.  "Please do not get medical-grade or surgical or N95 masks."

He said LA Protects can produce 2 million face coverings a week.

He also said he directed LADWP to shut off water and power for those nonessential businesses that remain open despite repeated warnings to close.

Garcetti said 24 farmers' markets will be open on the days they are supposed to operate after submitting a safe and comprehensive plan for social distancing. 

To check on farmers' markets with approved plans at http://streetsla.lacity.org/covid

FREEZING RENT HIKE INCREASES, CONSTRUCTION SITES GUIDELINES:

Garcetti stressed that a decision to stay home may mean one less person who may need a ventilator LA may not have.  

"I'm so proud of Los Angeles and I'm so proud of the example that you are setting, of how you are sharing this love with each other, explaining this crisis to the children and grandchildren and being the leaders that we all of you to be right now," he said. "Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home."

Garcetti also gave an update on testing. He said the city of LA testing program, which opened up a new site, completed 10,027 tests, including 1,623 tests alone on Tuesday.

"By Thursday we will have doubled our capacity and we will administer 13,000 tests just this week alone. Starting tomorrow, we are opening up testing to the entire county and expanding testing at two new sites," the Mayor said. 

To those who don't live in the city of LA, you can go and sign up at https://corona-virus.la/ and sign up to see if you are eligible.

Garcetti also outlined new guidelines and safety protocols when it came to construction sites across the city. 

He said since he's signed the Safer-at-Home directive, the city has heard about some construction sites that are not following those guidelines.

"That's why our city's Department of Building and Safety has developed new guidelines for construction sites to ensure employers and workers are safe and protecting public health and their own health," Garcetti said.

He said the guidelines are posted at www.ladbs.org

The city is now requiring all construction sites to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plan including protocols for symptom checking, physical distancing, and hygiene practices and decontamination procedures, according to Garcetti. He said the city inspectors will be sent to construction sites every day to verify compliance with these safety guidelines.

Garcetti suspended rent increases for apartments that are subject to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).

“This is a common sense action to help tenants stay in their homes,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Angelenos who have lost hours or been laid off, or can’t work as a result of a COVID-19 diagnosis, should not face the extra burden of a spike in their rent.”

FOR MORE INFO: https://corona-virus.la/faq

Garcetti also temporarily suspended farmers' markets following reports of crowding - until they present plans to ensure social distancing. He also shut down popular Silver Lake Meadow because there were too many crowds.

He also talked about pedestrian crossings that will be automatic in some neighborhoods so you don't have to touch the button to cross. It'll be in downtown and then MacArthur Park and Hollywood.

LA CONVENTION CENTER UPDATE, MOTELS AND TESTING:

Earlier this week, he said that that part of the LA Convention Center will be turned into a federal field hospital with 30 members of the California National Guard helping set up the hospital on Sunday.

The field hospital will be a federal medical station that will include medical supplies and cots to help alleviate the stress on nearby hospitals and will likely be a recovering spot for recovering COVID-19 patients who still need to be quarantined.  

He also said that more than 900 motel/hotel rooms will be used for isolation and quarantine for homeless Angelenos who have been exposed to COVID-19, or waiting for test results.

Those who are unhoused and asymptomatic will also be housed. Motels and hotels can help at this link: http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Rooms

The mayor said the city of LA and its partners have administered  6,741 tests in the last week and said by Thursday, that will be 13,000 tests completed. Please go to http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing to see if you are eligible and how to sign up.

Garcetti said a nation is defined by how we can pull together and help each other. 

"With the arrival of this ship we are better handled to the surge of patients we know will walk through the doors of hospitals in the days ahead," Garcetti said.

Garcetti announced the city of LA will be the first city in the nation to partner with UPS, where they will pay for, deliver and pick up tests, thousands a day, inside Los Angeles. 

The criteria for the coronavirus tests can be found at the testing portal https://corona-virus.la/  and Garcetti has said previously the tests are for the most vulnerable and the front line workers.

OUTDOOR SPOTS, BEACHES AND BIKE PATHS CLOSURES:

This comes as more outdoor spots are shutting down amid a lack of social distancing and crowds. On Friday,  LA County's public health officials issued the closure order for public trails, beaches and bike paths at least through April 19.

He said more than 2,700 medical workers have signed up to help through the portal the city set up, in which a medical professional can sign up to help, paid or pro bono, found at coronavirus.lacity.org/medicalworker

Earlier in the day, Garcetti and California Gov. Gavin Newsom gave an update on COVID-19 in front of the USNS Mercy. The hospital ship arrived in LA Friday to help with non-coronavirus patients and ease the pressure and load from other area hospitals.

Garcetti said it will be the largest hospital in LA and at its full capacity, today will add third more available beds and at full capacity two thirds more beds to fight COVID-19 in Los Angeles. He said he wanted to thank the President, Senators and everybody who had a role on sending the ship to Los Angeles.

"This will be a COVID-19 free bubble," Garcetti said. "But by every person who comes in, whether transported from a direct accident or something like that or from a hospital every bed not taken in Los Angeles by the great work of the men and women here will mean one more bed for the surge the Governor talked about. And so this truly is Mercy on the water, this is truly is Mercy at the beds. This truly is Mercy at the expression of who we are as Americans and people at this moment." 

Gov. Newsom said the ship is just one of many assets that they are positioning across the state. He also issued a moratorium on evictions for renters through May 31 with no evictions no enforcement for the entire state.

Newsom said more than 31 million N95 masks are being sent and 1.4 million sets of gloves are being sent to the state.

Garcetti also announced a partnership to organize the local fashion and garment industry with the goal of making 5 million non-medical masks for grocery workers and other essential workers.

Manufacturers can sign up at http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/LAProtects to help reach the goal of 5 million non-medical masks.

He pointed to the jumps in deaths and confirmed cases and predicted that Los Angeles is six to 12 days behind New York City.

"It's difficult for me to imagine that it won't happen here," he said.

WHAT IS CLOSED?

He also announced that the outdoor sports amenities at Recreation and Parks facilities throughout the City of Los Angeles will be closed. 

Those closures include skate parks, tennis courts, baseball fields, and basketball courts.

Parks still remain open for walking or running but people must maintain at least six feet between each other. The Mayor had previously announced the closure of Runyon Canyon, Bronson Canyon, and the Venice Pier, Griffith Park amenities, as well as all City recreation centers, golf courses, aquatic facilities, and beach parking lots.

All recreation centers, senior centers, and playgrounds are also closed, and all recreation and cultural programming, indoor and outdoor sports leagues, aquatics classes, instructional courses, and group sessions have been canceled, a press release from the Mayor's office said.

Garcetti also said Runyon Canyon was closed Wednesday and considering closing more popular outdoor areas to keep everyone safe.

He also recounted the city will not cite or tow cars with expired registrations but it will be enforcing parking across the city in those areas not exempted. He also recounted which violations LA DOT has waived tickets to: https://knx1070.radio.com/articles/cns-news/find-out-what-violations-la-dot-has-waived-tickets-to

He said the LAPD will not give tickets to anybody with an expired license during this time. 

"We have not seen the darkest days but we will march forward and we will march forward together," he said.

"We will not be back to that normal in that short period of time," Garcetti said.

He also said there is a one-stop portal where a medical professional can sign up to help, paid or pro bono, at coronavirus.lacity.org/medicalworker

Earlier this week, Garcetti checked in with the community asking them to "save lives," and thanked the first responders and those who are still going to work and still doing their essential jobs.

Through an emergency order, Garcetti also allowed restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages.

When it came to transportation he said Metro Los Angeles riders will use the back door to board the buses, except for those who have accessibility issues.

He also said there would be a moratorium on Ellis Act evictions in the city.

In March, LA County officials announced a Safer at Home order ordering residents to stay at home and closing all nonessential businesses until April 19 or longer if needed. People can only go out for essential things like groceries, getting gas, medications and more.

He said it was "ok to cry" in a time like this adding everyone has been showing great spirit during this outbreak.

WHAT IS CLOSED? WHAT IS OPEN? UNDER SAFER AT HOME ORDER

Garcetti told the public what the order means and how it focuses on the public's health and safety.

He stressed, "Don't go to an emergency room if you don't have a medical emergency and if you do need to go in, use strict physical social distancing practices."

The order to stay at home for LA County came right before Gov. Newsom announced a state-wide stay-at-home directive Thursday.