Public Health officials discuss benchmarks for recovery, reopening

Los Angeles County Seal.
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L.A. County Public Health Department officials discussed Tuesday plans for tracking hospital capacity, personal protective equipment and mortality rates across multiple demographics to ensure those who need testing are being given the proper access.

During the county’s Tuesday news conference, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Public Health Department, said the county would be releasing more information regarding recovery in Los Angeles County as a whole.

“As I have mentioned before, the county’s approach to reopening is guided by the scene, and by looking at the current status of our pandemic locally,” said Ferrer.

The first set of data Ferrer said the county will continue to track throughout the reopening process involves the capacity to make sure hospitals take care of the patients who need care.

“This includes making sure there’s enough hospital beds, intensive care unit beds and ventilators,” said Ferrer. “We do know, as we reopen more, people will be out and about and we’ll see more cases.”

Ferrer also noted that it would be important for the county to continue tracking the amount of personal protective equipment available to health care workers, the amount of testing supplies needed, and the need to continue to do contact tracing throughout the reopening.

In addition to tracking the number of patients hospitals are handling, the county plans to continue tracking the mortality rates of demographics across age, poverty level, race and ethnicity.

“We’re also going to need to pay attention to whether some people in certain populations are experiencing higher rates than others, so that we can appropriately target our services and our resources,” said Ferrer.

During the same news conference, Ferrer said black, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities have been experiencing a much higher mortality rate than all others in L.A. County.

The last indicator, Ferrer said, is ensuring that the most vulnerable groups to the COVID-19 virus, such as the elderly and immunocompromised, still have access to testing.

“Another measure for is looking at who is getting tested, not just the fact that we are doing a lot of testing,” said Ferrer. “Protecting the people who are the most vulnerable is paramount through the reopening process.”

Ferrer said the county will be posting updates on this information at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/dashboards/.

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