Feds OK $2.75M for coronavirus ‘state of emergency’

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal officials approved $2.75 million to help L.A. County efforts to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), after Supervisor Kathryn Barger declared a countywide state of emergency with the announcement of six new cases.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the funding to support the county’s efforts to address the virus. 

“I have signed a proclamation declaring the existence of a local emergency. I want to reiterate this is not a response rooted in panic,” said Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. “We’ve been preparing with our local, state and federal partners for the likelihood of this scenario.” 

County officials proclaimed the health emergency a news conference Wednesday morning. Federal officials announced the release of the money shortly afterward.

“Our partners are on the front lines of this response and we support their efforts to increase needed public health capacity to confront the challenges this virus presents,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, in a news release.

“‘Proclaiming a state of emergency enhances our preparedness and response capabilities, while also providing opportunities to seek assistance from state and federal partners,” said Barger. “We must all remain vigilant.”

Public Health confirmed that six new cases have been found in Los Angeles County. 

“We know of an assumed known exposure source for all six of our new cases that we are announcing today,” said Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. “That means as of today, we still don’t have known cases of community transmission.” 

The public needs to prepare for the possibility of business disruptions, school closures and modifications or cancellations of select public events, according to Ferrer.

“We ask everyone to start practicing sort of what we call simple social distancing practices,” said Ferrer. “Use verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs …and whenever possible, try to keep 6 feet between you and other people that you don’t know at large events.”

Three of the cases were travelers who traveled in Italy, two cases were family members of someone who tested positive for the virus, and one case had a job that exposed them to travelers from other countries who may have been infectious, according to Ferrer. 

The locations of the new cases are not available at this time.

LA County Public Health is making major announcements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in LA County. Tune in to watch the press conference.

Posted by County of Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Video: Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the county Public Health Department announce a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

This is a breaking news story and additional information will be added as it becomes available.

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