Your No-Panic Guide To LA Life, And The New (And Changing) Coronavirus Rules
UPDATE: We've revamped this guide.
Since we're in this for the long haul, we've transitioned to to an easier-to-read format: How To (New) LA.
Check it out for all the latest updates, and thank you for reading.
Restrictions have been lifting since early May, but COVID-19 is not under control in L.A. County.
On a state-level, all Californians are now required to wear face masks in public. Meanwhile, experts say the overall daily case numbers we're seeing are an undercount — in part because of equity issues with testing and lab backlogs.
So, how should you evaluate possible hazards when engaging with the world right now? Great question.
Since the reopening began, there have been mixed signals from officials and leaders about how to exist safely, with messages vacillating between use-L.A.-at-your-own-risk, and "hunker down, back in your home, whenever you can."
Below is everything we know about the coronavirus in L.A. It's updated as new information becomes available, and we've been publishing it since January.
It reflects reporting from every corner of our newsroom, and beyond. It's also a reflection of more than 3,000 questions that you've asked and we've answered. Keep asking.
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Timeline | Reopening L.A. | Officials and Orders | About the Virus | COVID-19 and MIS-C Symptoms | Testing | Masks and Sanitizers | Food Help and Food Safety | Daily Life | Is Nature Closed? | Enforcement | Reporting Violations | Rent, Loans, Unemployment | Other Kinds of Help | Hospitals | Schools | City and County Operations | Homelessness | More Q&A | Ask A Question |
KEY DETAILS BEFORE VENTURING OUTSIDE
1) Stay-at-home orders for L.A. County will exist into the summer with no specific end date. Restrictions have been/are being "gradually relaxed" along the way. The revised Health Officer Order has all the specifics.
2) Face coverings are mandatory in L.A. County (and the state). You're required to wear one when you're out of your home and interacting with people you don't live with — even outdoors. If no one is around, keep it in your pocket in case other humans appear. For runners, put one on when passing. The idea with cloth masks is to stop the virus from getting out, not in.
3) Self-isolate and do not go out for at least 10 days if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive. If you think you've been exposed, self-quarantine for 14 days.
4) Physical distancing is in effect in all places, unless otherwise noted and addressed via protocols.
5) This is not over. The number of confirmed cases and deaths explain it better than words. The global total is now over 11,892,000 confirmed cases and more than 545,000 deaths. In L.A. County, there have been over 116,500 confirmed cases and more than 3,400 deaths.
Some things that reopened were subsequently shut down again.
Click "RULES & DETAILS" for specifics and official guidance.
May 8: Florists, toy stores, bookstores, clothing shops, sporting goods, more (RULES & DETAILS)
May 9: Hiking trails (RULES & DETAILS)
May 9: Golf courses (RULES & DETAILS)
May 13: Manufacturing/logistics businesses (RULES & DETAILS)
May 13: L.A.'s beaches (RULES & DETAILS)
May 13: Tennis, archery, equestrian centers, community gardens, more (RULES & DETAILS)
May 16: Angeles National Forest trails (RULES & DETAILS)
May 16: Descanso Gardens (RULES & DETAILS)
May 19: Pet grooming and training (RULES & DETAILS)
May 19: Car washes (RULES & DETAILS)
May 22: Beach bike paths, parking (RULES & DETAILS)
May 22: Car parades (RULES & DETAILS)
May 25: L.A. River recreation zones (RULES & DETAILS)
May 26: Runyon Canyon (RULES & DETAILS)
May 27: Shopping inside of stores, shopping centers, malls (RULES & DETAILS)
May 27: Houses of worship (RULES & DETAILS)
May 27: Flea markets (RULES & DETAILS)
May 27: Drive-in theaters (RULES & DETAILS)
May 27: Pools at multi-unit residences (RULES & DETAILS)
May 29: Hair salons and barbershops (RULES & DETAILS)
May 29: Restaurant dining rooms (RULES & DETAILS)
May 29: Offices without telework options (RULES & DETAILS)
June 8: Libraries w/ sidewalk service (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Gyms (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Public pools (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Professional sports (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Hotels (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Zoos, aquariums, museums, galleries (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Day camps (RULES & DETAILS)
June 12: Music, film, and tv production (RULES & DETAILS)
June 19: Bars, wineries, brewery tasting rooms (RULES & DETAILS)
June 19: Nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage, skin care, more (RULES & DETAILS)
June 19: Cardrooms, satellite wagering facilities, racetracks (RULES & DETAILS)
TBD: Movie theaters, mini-golf, arcades, batting cages, bowling (RULES & DETAILS)
TBD: School campuses (RULES & DETAILS)
TBD: Casinos (RULES & DETAILS)
A ROLLERCOASTER OF RULES
With the reopenings, come the rules. And there are many. And sometimes they change.
Sometimes counties reopen behind the state pace because certain criteria still needs to be met (if counties want to move faster than the state pace, they need special permission to do so). Once the state allows for something to reopen, it's then up to the county to approve it or not.
We are keeping a running list or reopenings (and upcoming reopenings) with details, links, and history. For all of the activities and locations listed below, social distancing protocols should be followed, and face coverings are required.
The first wave of L.A. County shops were allowed to reopen on May 8 for curbside pick-up only, if they followed new safety rules. There were a lot of them. Florists, toy stores, music stores, bookstores, clothing stores, sporting goods stores, and car dealership showrooms were all part of this group. Some cities, like Long Beach, allowed additional shops/activities.
Doorside pick-up was allowed on May 13, and more businesses, including some manufacturing/logistic companies, were greenlit to reopen if they complied with health department protocols. The next move was curbside pickup at indoor malls on May 22.
In-store shopping was restored (pun intended) statewide on Memorial Day. But the state's go-ahead was just the first step. The county had to say OK, and we had not met the criteria yet. L.A. County Department of Public Health gave the greenlight less than a week later. Shopping inside of stores was approved locally on May 27.
Malls and outdoor shopping centers were also approved to reopen. On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed down L.A.'s indoor malls again., citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the entire state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: IN-STORE SHOPPING
- L.A. County's reopening rules: MALLS & SHOPPING CENTERS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: WAREHOUSING, MANUFACTURING, LOGISTICS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: CAR DEALERSHIPS
- State health department guidance: RETAILERS (with checklist)
- State health department guidance: SHOPPING CENTERS (with checklist)
- State health department guidance: CAR DEALERSHIPS & RENTALS
Hiking trails operated by L.A. County and the City of L.A. were reopened to the public on May 9. Runyon Canyon and Griffith Observatory remained closed. Runyon Canyon, was allowed to reopen on May 26 with "counters" in place to avoid overcrowding and "the trail will only be open for hiking as a one-way loop," the City of L.A. tweeted.
Some Angeles National Forest trails and (while not so much a hike, but certainly a walk) Descanso Gardens reopened, with restrictions, on May 16. Eaton Canyon was reopened, but then closed again because of crowds, and then reopened again with new rules and timed entry. Other related, ongoing reopenings: Joshua Tree National Park, some CA state parks, some campgrounds, other natural spaces.
Golf courses operated by L.A. County and the City of L.A. reopened to the public on May 9. They were reservation-only, one person per golf cart, and foam fillers were added to the holes so players wouldn't have to touch the flag. Golf at other recreational facilities were allowed to reopen on May 13.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: GOLF COURSES
Bike paths got some restrictions lifted a few days later, and parking lots run by the county and the city — at Cabrillo and Venice beaches, Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Zuma Beach, and Surfrider Beach — reopened on May 22.
Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the county announced on June 29, that beaches, piers, and beach bike paths would be closed from July 3-6 (fireworks displays were also prohibited).
- L.A. County's reopening rules: BEACHES
Tennis courts, pickleball courts, shooting ranges, archery ranges, other golf courses, equestrian centers, model airplane areas, community gardens, bike parks and other recreational facilities were also allowed to reopen — with limitations — on May 13.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: BMX AREAS & BIKE PARKS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: TENNIS COURTS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: PICKLEBALL COURTS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: COMMUNITY GARDENS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: ARCHERY & OUTDOOR SHOOTING
- L.A. County's reopening rules: MODEL AIRPLANE AREAS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: EQUESTRIAN CENTERS
Pet grooming and training — shops and mobile services — were allowed to operate starting May 19. Customers had to drop off and pick up pets outside of the store, or home, if a mobile service.
Car washes were allowed to resume operations on May 19.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: CAR WASHES
Graduation (and other types of) vehicle parades were given the green light on May 22 — provided an exhaustive set of rules were followed.
- L.A. County rules: CAR PARADES
Restaurants got guidance from the state on May 12 about how to reopen dining rooms, but it would be a few more weeks until that happened in L.A. On May 29, the county gave the greenlight for restaurants to reopen — with restrictions — provided they followed safety protocols.
Initially, compliance was on "the honor system." That worked about as well as you might imagine.
On June 15, health officials announced that half of the 2,000 L.A. restaurants they inspected since reopening were not in compliance with new guidelines. Those rules include strict measures to ensure physical distancing.
On June 27, the county said that 3,700 food establishments were recently surveyed and 83% were in violation of coronavirus regulations.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told LAist it appears businesses are not communicating the new rules to staff and patrons. A significant number of employees weren't wearing face coverings, which is a major public health issue both for workers and guests. Lack of social distancing was also a problem.
On July 1 in-restaurant dining was shut down again.
Citing the spread of COVID-19 across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was re-closing indoor operations in multiple business sectors, including this one, effective immediately.
The order was to remain in place for at least three weeks.
On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed them down again in L.A., citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the entire state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: PLACES OF WORSHIP
- State health department guidance: WORSHIP, CEREMONIES, SERVICES
While neighboring counties were trimming and snipping, L.A. was still waiting. Hair salons finally got the go ahead to reopen May 29 after the state approved L.A.'s variance application (which is, essentially, permission for a county to skip ahead in the reopening process).
On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed them down again in L.A., citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the entire state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: HAIR SALONS, BARBERSHOPS
Drive-in theaters are the place to be. What year is it? Doesn't even matter. Time has no meaning. These were allowed to reopen on May 27.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: DRIVE-INS
These reopenings were announced along with the reopening of drive-in theaters.
These were allowed to reopen on May 27. The rules apply to pools, hot tubs and saunas in a multi-unit residence, or part of a homeowners association.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: SHARED RESIDENTIAL POOLS
Offices in "non-critical sectors" were allowed to reopen on May 29, but only when telework was not possible. "So if you can work from home, you still need to work from home," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news briefing.
On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed down offices in "non-critical sectors" again, citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: OFFICE WORKSITES
- State health department guidance: OFFICE WORKSPACES (with checklist)
L.A. River Recreation Zones in Elysian Valley and the Sepulveda Basin opened for the 2020 season on May 25. Walking, fishing (with a permit), and birdwatching was OK. Kayaking and other water activity, not OK. The initial announcement slated the recreation zones for opening on May 31.
Libraries in various locations across L.A. County opened on June 8 for contact-less drop off and pick-up. The Hours of operation were between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Staff was taking calls between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Here's where you can reserve a book. And we have a breakdown of how the process works.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: LIBRARIES WITH CURBSIDE PICK-UP
Hooray-ish for Hollywood.
A 22-page reopening plan was sent to the state and county by a Hollywood taskforce on June 1 (here's that full document). The state returned with a recommendation that music, film, and tv production could reopen on June 12, but:
"...subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing."
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission."
TWIST! L.A. County Department of Public Health gave the OK for the state's timeline.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: MUSIC, TELEVISION AND FILM PRODUCTION
- Industry unions production guidelines: "THE SAFE WAY FORWARD"
While they hadn't yet reopened in L.A., on July 1 family entertainment centers were shut down again in the rest of the state. Citing the spread of COVID-19 across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was re-closing indoor operations in multiple business sectors, including this one, effective immediately.
The order was to remain in place for at least three weeks.
- State health department guidance: FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS
State recommendations include a worksite-specific plan, topics for employee training, individual control measures like temperature checks, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, physical distancing guidelines, and extra considerations for communal bathrooms and showers.
L.A. County said gyms could reopen June 12. On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed them down again in L.A., citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the entire state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- State health department guidance: FITNESS FACILITIES
- L.A. County's reopening rules: GYMS AND FITNESS ESTABLISHMENTS
The county order was lifted on June 12, but just because pools can open doesn't mean they will open.
There are a lot of rules.
There is no Marco Polo.
Pool operators now need to maintain 6 feet of social distancing among swimmers and loungers. Maximum occupancy is cut in half. Lap swimmers might be one person per lane (if not a family group). And some locations could require reservations. Frequent cleaning of "high-touch surfaces" — like door handles, pool railings, deck chairs, training gear — is also required.
This guidance applies to:
- campground pools
- club pools
- commercial pools
- health or fitness club pools
- hotel pools
- licensed day care facility pools
- medical facility pools
- mineral spring pools
- motel pools
- municipal pools
- public school pools
- private school pools
- recreational or mobile home park pools
- resort pools
- special purpose pools
- swim school pools
Hot tubs/jacuzzi/spa pools, water parks, splash pads at amusement parks, water slides, other rides or water attractions located at a pool are not included in these rule changes, and are still closed.
Residential swimming pools at apartment buildings, bed and breakfasts, condos, and HOAs have their own reopening rules.
- L.A. County's reopening rules: PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS
As far as the state is concerned, professional sports in California could resume training and competition — without live audiences — on or after June 12. L.A. County is also going forward on June 12.
"Athletes, coaching staff, medical staff, broadcasting staff and others at sporting facilities or events should abide by COVID-19 protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines ... Retail staff should adhere to Retail guidelines."
- L.A. County's reopening rules: PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUES AND FACILITIES
These were allowed by the state to open on or after June 12, pending "county health officer approval following their review of local epidemiological data." L.A. County health officials approved the June 12 date.
On July 1 indoor operations at zoos, aquariums, museums and galleries were shut down again.
Citing the spread of COVID-19 across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was re-closing indoor operations in multiple business sectors, including this one, effective immediately. The order was to remain in place for at least three weeks.
- State health department guidance: MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, ZOOS, AQUARIUMS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, ZOOS, AQUARIUMS
The day camp recommendations are substantial — from prioritizing outdoor activities, to promoting healthy hygiene practices, to keeping kids from eating hand sanitizer, to monitoring staff and campers for signs of illness (and having a plan when someone does gets sick), to considerations for partial or total closures, and oh so much more. L.A. County has given the go ahead for day camps to reopen on June 12.
Party's over for now.
The day after bars were allowed to reopen, about 500,000 people decided to go out for a drink, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. About a week later on June 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered them to close again immediately as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates were increasing in various parts of the state.
On July 1 Newsom also closed down indoor operations at wineries and tasting rooms again. That order was to remain in place for at least three weeks.
Well it finally happened. We are in Footloose. Dancing is banned. L.A. County said bars, breweries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, craft distilleries and wineries could reopen at 50% capacity starting June 19, but dancing there is prohibited (so is karaoke, trivia, open mics, and other revelry) . Also, you can't stand and drink. Customers are not allowed to buy or consume beverages while standing. You can order and drink at the bar if you stay seated and six feet away from other patrons and the bartender. You can not order and pick up drinks at the bar and then walk them to your table. Drinks ordered at your table will be brought to you. "Reducing person-to-person interaction" is another consideration so you might see more mobile ordering, contactless payment and text on arrival for seating.
See more details, diagrams, and compliance checklists in county's official protocols.
- State health department guidance: RESTAURANTS, BARS, AND WINERIES
- L.A. County's reopening rules: BARS, WINERIES, BREWERY TASTING ROOMS
L.A. County gave the go ahead for this group of on June 19. On July 1, they were shut down again. Citing the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was re-closing indoor operations in multiple business sectors, including this one, effective immediately. The order was to remain in place for at least three weeks.
- State health department guidance:CARDROOMS, SATELLITE WAGERING FACILITIES, RACETRACKS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: CARDROOMS, SATELLITE WAGERING FACILITIES, RACETRACKS
L.A. County allowed the following establishements to reopen at 50% capactiy on June 19. This group of reopenings applies to services that require touching a client's face or body:
Esthetician, skin care and cosmetology services
Body art professionals
Microblading, permanent make-up
Massage therapy (non-healthcare)
On July 13 Gov. Newsom closed them down again in L.A., citing the spread of COVID-19, and announced that the entire state was moving back into a modified version of the stay-at-home order.
- State health department guidance: PERSONAL CARE SERVICES
- L.A. County's reopening rules: PERSONAL CARE SERVICES
L.A. County health officials have cleared hotels to reopen for recreational use on June 12.
- State health department guidance: HOTELS, LODGING, SHORT TERM RENTALS
- L.A. County's reopening rules: HOTEL, LODGING SHORT TERM RENTALS
- State health department guidance: TRIBAL CASINOS
LAUSD announced that classes would be online-only when the new school year starts on Aug 18.
District officials said L.A.'s coronavirus numbers went the wrong way abd they would not be opening campuses for in-person instruction.
Beutner did not give a date or timetable for reopening LAUSD campuses.
ADDITIONAL L.A. COUNTY HEALTH PROTOCOLS
- OUTDOOR MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS
- SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER GROUPS
- MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT GROUPS
- OWNERS OF COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
ADDITIONAL STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE
- SCHOOL CAMPUSES
- PORTS (with checklist)
- PUBLIC TRANSIT (with checklist)
- DELIVERY SERVICES (with checklist)
- MEAT, DAIRY, PRODUCE PACKING FACILITIES (with checklist)
TIMELINE REALITY CHECK
If it feels like the recovery process is moving a lot faster all of a sudden, that's because it is. A week before the major May 29 announcements, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger proposed July 4 as the target date to fully or partially reopen retail, restaurants, and malls in the county.
At that time, L.A. County's public health director Barbara Ferrer said that county leaders and residents would "have do a lot of things right so that we can actually get to that date... and we're still going to need to pay a lot of attention to what the data's telling us." Mayor Garcetti had a similar response.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly defined those metrics as:
- No more than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over seven days
- And EITHER less than 25 coronavirus positives per 100,000 residents OR less than 8% positive tests.
When we talked to Ferrer again on May 28, she said she felt the data supported moving ahead now.
"We're well positioned to enter into the recovery phase," she told us. "I don't think we're going too fast... It's easiest on all of us if, wherever possible, the county can move in alignment with the state and I think that's what we've done."
We asked Garcetti at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend how Angelenos should evaluate risk as things reopen.
He said: "We've never been fully closed," and we should get comfortable living in a "gray area" between being open and closed for a while. People will need to make their own individual assessments of the risks they want to take by going out, he added.
"I think it's okay to take a step forward, but don't dash forward. Don't go crazy and stay out all weekend."
Simply, it's permission for a county to skip ahead in the reopening process.
The reopening process works like this: The state decides when California moves into a new stage (or phase within a stage) of changes. But individual counties need to qualify to make those changes based on their own circumstances.
The state lifts closure orders and provides guidance on how to open, but doesn't say when to open.
Sometimes counties want to reopen behind the state pace.
Sometimes counties want to move faster than the state pace.
That's where the "variance" comes into play. It's when a county requests, and is approved by the state, to go further, faster, and reopen areas not covered in the current statewide status.
There are additional "mitigation strategies" for: first responders, law enforcement, homeless populations, retirement communities, tribal communities, correctional and detention facilities, shared housing, community events, faith-based organizations, and more.
In the past, state and local health departments viewed the CDC "as the central federal agency responsible for communicating to the public" during a crisis, Politico reports. "But since March, the White House has shifted much of that work to its coronavirus task force."
A local public health emergency was declared by county officials on March 4.
L.A. County announced the first death from COVID-19 on March 11.
Confirmed cases and deaths are being tracked on the public health department's website.
On March 15, L.A. County officials said they were closing all offices to the public, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a moratorium on evictions, and an executive order banning dine-in restaurants and entertainment facilities went into effect at midnight.
L.A. County followed with a similar list of actions, closures, and restrictions the following day, including strongly discouraging gatherings of more than 50 people.
The "Safer at Home" emergency order was issued by L.A. County and city leaders on March 19. It included the following directives:
- Residents should remain at home.
- Do not gather in enclosed spaces with more than 10 people.
- Close all non-critical businesses (that can't operate remotely) until further notice.
"I want to be clear about this," said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti during the announcement, "that the only time you should leave your home is for essential activities and needs — to get food, care for a relative or a friend or child, get necessary health care," and the like.
Jobs that are critical to safety, health, and the security of city, as well as an "economy of recovery," are exempt. Examples Garcetti cited:
- Emergency personnel
- First responders
- Government employees
- Medical personnel
- Vital infrastructure workers
- Health care providers
- Transportation services
- Grocery stores
- Restaurants (but for take-out or delivery only)
- News outlets
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations
- Banks and financial institutions
- Plumbers, electricians
- Dry cleaners and laundromats
But social distancing must be enforced in all of these cases.
On March 25, Garcetti said the stay-at-home order would likely be in place until May.
On March 27, Garcetti tonight used what may have been his strongest language yet to urge people to heed his stay-at-home orders.
"These aren't suggestions, I remind you, these are orders. We are in the midst of a pandemic," Garcetti said.
The city punctuated that message with a piercing emergency alert sent moments after his nightly address reminding people to keep staying at home, and to only go out for essential activities. L.A. County sent an alert as well.
Official guidance on general mask-wearing arrived on April 1. Garcetti made the recommendation that all residents wear face coverings whenever they're out of the house and interacting with people.
About a week later, that was changed to a requirement. Shoppers and store employees must wear face masks starting April 10.
L.A. County echoed with a face covering ordinance a few days later, bringing some uniformity to the patchwork of mask rules across the 88 cities. You now have to wear a mask when shopping anywhere in L.A. County.
County health officials have also extended the stay-at-home order to May 15. They laid out new data that shows current social distancing practices are working — but we need to do better.
We are bending the curve, but if we stop physical distancing, the projection is that "virtually all residents in Los Angeles County would have been exposed or infected with COVID-19" by mid-summer, said the director of L.A. County's Department of Health Services.
Testing was still only being recommended for people who were symptomatic.
Garcetti said he doesn't see large gatherings like concerts happening again this year, but relative normalcy may come sooner. Similar to Gov. Gavin Newsom's six strategies, the mayor laid out five key marks for the city to hit in order to lift the stay-at-home order:
- Widespread virus and blood testing
- Real-time disease surveillance to detect outbreaks faster
- Rapid, aggressive response to potential outbreaks
- Increase hospital capacity
- Ongoing research and development
Based on the current modeling, mid-May is the projection to begin rolling back the current restrictions, said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health at a briefing on April 21. But, she said, there is no "magic day."
Ferrer said on April 22 that CDC staff members would be helping the health department improve infection control practices at skilled nursing facilities, and that approximately 40% of all deaths countywide have been at institutional facilities.
On April 27, Ferrer said that county residents living in areas with high rates of poverty are dying at a rate about three times that of communities with low poverty rates.
"This data is deeply disturbing and it speaks to the need for immediate action... this would mean increased testing, better access and connection to health care and support services, and more accurate culturally appropriate information about COVID-19, and we're joining with our partners in the community to make sure this happens."
On the same day, Mayor Garcetti said L.A. might be baby stepping toward normalcy in the next two to six weeks. There are plenty of caveats. There's also this: because what we've done is working, most of us could still get the coronavirus. "If we open up the wrong way," he said, 95% of us could get COVID-19 by August 1, citing a USC study.
Garcetti added "it's not really about a date, or how few cases you have — it's about the infrastructure you have to handle opening up."
A day later he announced a major testing change: all L.A. city residents, even those without symptoms, could get tested for COVID-19, for free.
On May 4, Garcetti called the reopening situation "fluid," and said he thought by May 15 the city would be ready to take some steps forward. Ferrer said the city would be releasing recovery plan guidelines. This was in response to the Governor's expected order which may allow some businesses to re-open beginning May 8.
On March 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for far stricter guidelines in the state. He asked all seniors and people with underlying conditions to isolate at home, restaurants to operate at diminished capacity, and wineries, bars, and brewpubs to close.
In a March 18 letter to President Trump, Newsom projected that more than half of the population of California will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period. He asked for $1 billion in federal funding and requested the hospital ship USNS Mercy be sent to Los Angeles.
On March 19, about an hour after the L.A. County orders were announced, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all residents of California to stay home or otherwise remain at their place of residence in order to slow the spread of the virus. There are exceptions for people who maintain critical infrastructure in 16 key sectors, including:
- Commercial Facilities
- Critical Manufacturing
- Defense Industrial Base
- Emergency Services
- Financial Services
- Food and Agriculture
- Government Facilities
- Health Care and Public Health
- Information Technology
- Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
- Water and Wastewater Systems
On April 13, Newsom announced what he described as a shared framework with Oregon and Washington about how to economically reopen California. More details came April 14 with a plan that includes six key metrics for loosening the stay-at-home orders. They include:
- More testing, tracking, isolating/quarantining, and supporting people who are positive/exposed.
- Protecting the most vulnerable from infection and spread.
- Hospitals and health systems being able to handle surges.
- The ability to develop therapeutic drugs to meet the demand.
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to allow for physical distancing.
- The ability to determine when/if to reinstitute measures like stay-at-home orders.
The governor's tasked 80 leaders to help plan for the state's economic recovery, with an advisory council that includes all four of the state's living governors. He said the task force — which will divide up into sub-groups covering entertainment, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, regional issues, etc. — will work on actionable ideas in real time, not some future report.
Newsom said on April 21 that local officials can lift some stay-at-home restrictions, as long as they don't conflict with state orders. His comments, made a daily press briefing, were in response to a question about Riverside County opening up golf courses and Port Hueneme opening beaches.
The governor reviewed testing numbers on April 22, saying the 465,000 tests administered so far in California were not enough to modify stay-at-home orders.
On April 27, Newsom said he hoped the state was weeks, not months, away from making significant changes to the stay-at-home orders — but that those decisions will be driven by data, and require people to abide by physical distancing orders.
Newsom has phases on phases to go with his six key metrics. On April 28, he laid out a "resilience roadmap" with four steps towards a full reopen. He also said that despite distributing millions of masks, the state is not even close to where it need to be with personal protective equipment yet.
Newsom said on April 29 that the state was possibly "a week or two away from significant modifications on our stay-at-home order," as long as coronavirus numbers remained stable.
Two days later the governor said the state is now "days, not weeks" away.
On May 4, Newsom said parts of the state would start moving into Phase 2 of reopening on May 8, and that guidlines would be forthcoming. This phase includes changes like retail beginning to reopen for pickup. Here's more on the six key metrics on the "State Reopening Roadmap Report Card."
Social/physical distancing is even more important in Phase 2, he said on May 5.
Announcements about counties moving further into Phase 2 were expected May 12, with detailed guidelines for dining, offices, and malls.
Ten counties got that green light for May 13. L.A. was not one of them.
The state said on May 20 that it was close to releasing guidelines for resuming film, television and commercial production. The expected release date was then pushed about a week as Newsom said the state was working more formally with the film industry and labor.
There are a variety of metrics counties need to hit to move forward, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. These include:
- No more than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over seven days
- And EITHER less than 25 coronavirus positives per 100,000 residents
- OR less than 8% positive tests
Newsom said on May 22 that the state was days away from putting out guidelines for reopening churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship.
On Memorial Day, the California Department of Public Health announced that churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship had permission to reopen statewide. In-store retail was also approved to reopen, with restrictions.
Changes were subject to approval by each county's public health department, and L.A. County was not approved.
On May 26, Newsom announced that counties with approved "variances" could skip ahead and reopen barbershops and hair salons instead of waiting for a statewide greenlight. That did not include L.A.
When asked on June 15 if the state was putting the economy ahead of health concerns in reopening, Newsom said that concerns like poverty, unemployment, access to preventative health care, and mental health also needed to be considered.
"This is not an economic question," he said, "it's a health question, broadly defined." He said officials believe that California imposing the first stay-at-home order saved lives, but:
"...there's a certain point where you have to recognize, you can't be in a permanent state where people are locked away for months, and months, and months, and months on end ... to see lives and livelihoods completely destroyed, without considering the health impact of those decisions as well."
Newsom reinforced that counties are not mandated to open (as they are in some other states), and that local officials can make their own decisions.
Masks were made mandatory in California on June 18. People state-wide must wear face coverings when:
- Inside indoor public spaces
- In line to enter indoor public spaces
- Outdoors in public spaces when it's not feasible to keep 6 feet of physical distance (from non-household members)
- Healthcare settings like hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, labs, doctor's offices, dental offices, veterinary clinics, blood banks and more
- Waiting for public transportation, paratransit, taxis, private car service, ride-sharing vehicles
- Riding in/on public transportation, paratransit, taxis, private car service, ride-sharing vehicles
- Driving or operating public transportation, paratransit, taxis, private car service, ride-sharing vehicles when passengers are present (and when no passengers are present, face coverings are still strongly recommended).
- Working — at your workplace, or off-site — if,
a) interacting with the public, or
b) in a space visited by members of the public even if no one is there at the time, or
c) in a space where food is prepared or packaged, or
d) walking through common areas like hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, or
e) in a room or enclosed area with non-household members where you're unable to physically distance
- There are some exceptions
L.A. County's case rate was called "very high" at a press conference on June 22.
California Health And Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said without wearing face coverings and limiting exposure, a COVID-19-positive person can infect 2.5 people in five days, which could lead to more than 400 people being infected in 30 days. To reduce exposure:
- wear face coverings
- maintain physical distance
- stay at home as much as possible
- practice good hand hygiene and washing your hands
- stay home while sick
- socially distance from other people in yoursehold when sick
- stay home if you are 65 or older or have underlying medical conditions
- answer a call from contact tracers
Newsom again defended the state's decision to continue reopening, citing: 5.7 million residents having filed for unemployment, the inability to get preventative care, unemployment rates being at the highest rate since the Great Depression, and social health factors (such as poverty) needing to be considered.
Voluntary, nationwide guidelines were announced on March 16, initially set to last for 15 days.
President Trump and the White House coronavirus task force asked Americans to close schools, avoid groups of more than 10 people, homeschool kids where possible, avoid discretionary travel, and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, and food courts.
Note: When President Trump was participating in daily White House briefings on the coronavirus pandemic he usually opened the briefing with his own remarks. His comments were frequently contradicted by information provided by other officials. He has also repeatedly used stigmatizing language to describe COVID-19. Following the president's remarks, health experts and other adminstration leaders provided additional updates.
Meanwhile, a Level 4, "Do Not Travel" global health advisory was issued by the U.S. State Department advising all citizens to "avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19."
At a March 23 briefing, Trump said the REAL ID deadline will be postponed and that surgical and N95 masks would be distributed by FEMA. An executive order was also announced by Attorney General William Barr making certain items illegal to hoard.
On March 27, Trump announced at a briefing that he invoked the Defense Production Act, "to compel General Motors to accept, perform and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators." He put it differently on Twitter that day.
The task force said on March 31 that Americans should brace for 100,000 or more people to die in the coming months in the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx renewed pleas to observe precautions. Birx said she's "reassured" by what L.A. has accomplished with social distancing in terms of how other cities might be able to respond as well.
On April 3, Trump said hospitals treating uninsured coronavirus patients would be reimbursed by the administration with funds from the economic relief package. The president also announced new CDC recommendations that people wear non-medical cloth face coverings when out in public.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said eligible taxpayers could receive stimulus payments within two weeks (others said some checks could take months).
On April 9, the federal government released new guidelines about when people in critical infrastructure roles can go back to work if they've been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. The CDC recommendations include taking temperatures before work, wearing face masks at all times, and practicing social distancing as much as duties allow.
On April 16 came a three-phased approach to normalization, albeit without time requirements. The strategy is contingent upon states having data about case levels, the capacity to treat all patients and test healthcare workers, and the ability to trace the contacts of those infected. States can decide on a county-by-county approach, according to an 18-page document obtained by NPR.
Each phase would require a 14-day period of a "downward trajectory" of cases to advance to the next one. Here's an overview —
- states or regions would have social distancing guidelines similar to those in place now
- a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10
- maximized physical distance
- working from home when possible
- the closures of schools and bars etc.
- strict physical distancing protocols would be ordered for places like restaurants, theaters, sporting venues, churches and gyms.
- vulnerable people would be urged to stay home.
- states and regions that show no signs of a rebound could expand gatherings to 50 people.
- resume non-essential travel.
- working from home would still be encouraged.
- schools could reopen and bars could operate with "diminished standing-room occupancy."
- vulnerable people still would be urged to stay home.
- states and regions could expand guidance so that vulnerable individuals could go out in public.
- visits to hospitals and nursing homes could resume.
NPR has the full guidelines documents.
On April 20, Trump announced via Twitter his intention to "temporarily suspend immigration."
"In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!"
He gave more details during an April 21 news briefing, and said the measure was needed to protect the jobs of U.S. workers. He also said secondary orders were under consideration.
On April 22, Trump signed an executive order to temporarily ban some green carder seekers from coming to the U.S. It goes into effect on April 24 and will last for two months, further extending the wait for green card seekers, some of whom first applied decades ago.
But the move is far less wide-ranging than Trump had indicated in his tweet.
His order exempts green card applicants who are the minor children and spouses of U.S. citizens. It also has a carve-out for health care workers, including nurses and doctors and people doing work that is "essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak."
There were mixed messages out of Washington on May 22.
The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, warning him that the city's long-term stay-at home orders may be "arbitrary and heavy handed." Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the White House's main medical advisors included Los Angeles as one of the regions where the spread of coronavirus remains a concern.
Garcetti responded to the DOJ letter in a coronavirus briefing: "We are not guided by politics in this, we are guided by science."
Birx said she would ask the CDC to investigate the problem areas "to really understand where are these new cases coming from, and what do we need to do to prevent them in the future."
L.A.'s latest stay-at-home order was originally supposed to be lifted May 15. It's still in place, but the reopening timeline has greatly accelerated in recent days.
On January 30, a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" was declared by the World Health Organization over an outbreak of a new, deadly, novel coronavirus which began in Wuhan City, China.
On March 4, L.A. County declared a local and public emergency, and Gov. Gavin Newsom made the call to declare an emergency for the state of California the same day.
On March 11, WHO made it official: COVID-19 is a pandemic.
On March 26, the United States surpassed China as the country with highest total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.
On April 11, the U.S. became the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
As of June 19, the U.S. still has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, and our local numbers were still rising.
SARS-CoV-2 is in the family of coronavirus pathogens that usually cause short-lived illnesses.
They get their name because of how they look, which is spiny around the edges, like a crown. And some coronaviruses are scarier than others. A lot is still unknown with this new ("novel") one.
Coronaviruses generally jump from person to person on the droplets from coughs and sneezes.
The CDC's current best guess is that the incubation period for novel coronavirus — that's the time from exposure to when symptoms first start showing up — is somewhere between two and 14 days.
We still don't know exactly how easily this coronavirus can spread through the air, but at least 239 scientists in 32 countries think it's airborne.
Another question has been viral load, or the amount of the virus in your system. It's still unclear whether viral load can affect your chances of getting sick, and recent studies suggest that it could affect the severity of your illness, Ferrer said.
On May 15, public health officials announced that L.A. County had reduced the rate of COVID-19's spread from three people for every one person infected, to just one. By July, the situation had changed significantly.
Ferrer said on July 6 that L.A. County was in "a new chapter of our response," adding, "cases are surging, hospitalizations are increasing and, mostly, this is all a reflection of a lot more community spread."
She said the data showed that many people, including many younger people, were no longer following the health guidelines that helped initally flatten the curve in the county.
It depends on where it is.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is "stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces," according to a study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.
- detectable in aerosols for up to three hours
- up to four hours on copper
- up to 24 hours on cardboard
- up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are two members of the coronavirus family that tend to make people sicker. "About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died," according to the CDC. And SARS was responsible for a global outbreak in 2002-2003 that killed 774 people.
"The novel coronavirus is more genetically related to SARS than MERS," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier.
But scientists don't know yet if novel coronavirus will act the same way as SARS or MERS; they're using information from both pathogens to guide their research.
Maybe. It has happened.
A tiger in New York City with a respiratory illness (I know, nothing makes sense) was the first animal to test positive in the U.S. That was in early April.
On April 22, two pet cats in New York were confirmed to have COVID-19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
- Don't let pets interact with people or animals from outside of your home.
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent mingling with other animals or people.
- Walk dogs on a leash and keep at least 6 feet away from other people and animals.
- Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
- If you're sick (either suspected or confirmed COVID-19), you should:
- Avoid contact with your animal friend, and isolate.
- That means no petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, or sharing food or bedding.
- Have another member of your household care for your pet if possible.
- If that's not possible, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after interactions.
Meanwhile, adoptions of shelter pets in L.A. have been "off the charts."
You can track the global scope and spread of COVID-19 with this map and list from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Also, these U.S. numbers from the CDC are updated daily.
The map below also shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries. It's updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.
The virus behaves differently in different people, and while you may have read reports with symptoms ranging from frostbite-looking rashes to conjunctivitis, below are the official ones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Harvard Health
Early symptoms in most COVID-19 patients include fever, myalgia, cough, and sore throat (5), which are common in other acute respiratory virus infections (6). can include: low-grade fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell.
Severe symptoms can include: high fever, severe cough, shortness of breath, inability to wake or stay awake, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, bluish lips or face.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. However, some people infected with the virus have no symptoms at all.
There also may also be additional symptoms beyond what we've listed above.
Meanwhile, across the country, doctors are reporting cases of children with a rare inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus.
The illness, initially known as Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome (PIMS) and renamed the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), is similar to a disorder known as Kawasaki Disease. Symptoms include high fever, rashes and inflammation that can affect organs, including the heart.
Doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have treated patients who've exhibited symptoms consistent with this condition since April. Specialists say symptoms can range broadly, and there's been concern over coronary artery enlargement or aneurysms in kids.
The CDC says "different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care."
If a child shows the following symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately:
Feeling extra tired
If a child shows the following symptoms, seek immediate emergency care:
Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face
Severe abdominal pain
The orders from L.A.'s public health department set out timeframes, restrictions, and criteria for self-isolation and self-quarantine.
For people who have contracted COVID-19, the guidance from the CDC is to self-isolate for 10 days, plus 3 days without fevers and/or symptoms. The virus may shed for longer than initially thought, which means a person may be able to infect other people for a longer.
If you think you might have been exposed, or if have COVID-19 symptoms, isolate, and call your doctor for next steps (or dial 211 in L.A. County if you need to find a clinician).
If you experience severe symptoms, get immediate medical attention.
If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home, here are some things to keep in mind. These tips come from UCLA's Dr. Robert Kim-Farley with the Fielding School of Public Health (and a former staffer with the CDC):
- Make sure they wear a mask
- Make sure you wear a mask
- Monitor for trouble breathing
- Monitor for persistent chest pain or pressure
- Call their healthcare provider if symptoms become more severe (especially if they're elderly or have pre-existing conditions).
- Clean surfaces frequently
- Try to keep the patient in one bedroom, and ideally one bathroom
- Don't shake the laundry before washing (to avoid aerosolizing virus particles that may be on their clothes).
- Restrict unnecessary visitors
- Wash hands frequently
The CDC requires people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to notify everyone they were in close contact with — including during the 48 hours before symptoms started — so those people can self-quarantine for up to 14 days. Close contact means less than 6 feet apart for 10 minutes or more.
People who have tested positive also need to self-isolate for 10 days, plus 3 days without fevers or symptoms, according to the CDC.
- Quarantine: a separation for people who have a contagious disease, have symptoms consistent with a contagious disease, or were exposed to a contagious disease. A person's movements are restricted when they are quarantined
- Isolation: a less restrictive separation that keeps people who are sick away from people who are not sick
- Self-Isolation: a voluntary action to stay at home by people who are sick (or are likely to be sick) and are experiencing mild symptoms
- Self-Quarantine: a voluntary action to stay at home by people who may have been exposed but are not experiencing symptoms
- Social Distancing: keeping your distance from other people. The distance reduces the risk of breathing in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or, in some cases, breathes. It can also mean cancelling events or gatherings (the term "physical distancing" means the same thing.)
Drive-up and walk-up testing sites are open across L.A. County.
The test is free, but you can't just show up.
Testing is by appointment only, and you have to register/apply first.
There are a few ways to do that:
1) APPLY ONLINE if you live anywhere in L.A. County.
County Testing Sites: If you're in L.A. County and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms you can apply for a test, but it doesn't necessarily mean you will get one. You'll be asked some questions on the eligibility form, and then asked for your contact information for next steps if an appointment is available.
City Testing Sites: If you're in the city of L.A., you used to be able to register for a test even if you didn't have symptoms, but that changed in early July despite a spike in cases. Also, the screening website does not distinguish between county and city. You have to select from the actual list or map if you want to select by location.
State Testing Sites: The state-run sites are managed by two companies — OptumServe and Verily. Those locations are also listed on the L.A. County testing map with links out for scheduling.
Additional Sites & Pharmacies: These sites run independently from the county, state, or city, but also offer free drive-up or walk-up testing. There are a lot of them, and they are on the L.A. County testing map with links out for scheduling. Click the map or list to circumvent the county/city screening interface and schedule at an independently-run location.
2) CALL YOUR DOCTOR to get tested at their facility/office, or for a directive to get tested elsewhere. If you don't have a health care provider, call 211 and you'll be directed to a one nearby. L.A. public health officials have continued asking people not to call 911 and not go to the emergency room unless you're experiencing severe, life-threatening symptoms and need immediate help.
Initially, the tests were limited to people most at risk. Restrictions were relaxed a few times to allow for same-day or next-day testing for anyone with symptoms, and testing of certain front-line workers without symptoms.
On May 6, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state was launching a new site where people can enter their zip code to find testing locations and schedule a test. It includes mobile testing sites, although it doesn't include private hospitals.
Pharmacies were also given permission to test for coronavirus, under state guidelines released May 12. There are 6,492 pharmacies in the state where that could potentially happen.
All city and county sites were reopened on June 4.
On July 8, the rules for the city changed again. Garcetti said test should be reserved for those with symptoms, anyone who thinks they've been exposed, and essential workers. Asymptomatic individuals should not just be getting tested so they can hang out with their friends, he said.
But, testing or not, if you experience severe symptoms, get immediate medical help.
No. California health officials are waiving all co-pays for COVID-19 testing. That applies to people on all insurance plans, and people who don't have health coverage.
You can also be tested for free regardless of your immigration status. And the federal government has said that getting tested or treated for coronavirus will not count toward the public charge test for getting a green card.
And if you don't have insurance, here are some options for getting it: Covered California and the entire individual health insurance market extended the enrollment window to June 30; enrollment for Medi-Cal is open year round; and in L.A. County, there's the no-cost health care plan My Health LA.
Here's a map of the locations.
But, again, you can't just show up.
You have to be approved first.
Get screened online to request a test, or try to get a directive from a health care provider.
At some testing sites, a health professional will administer a nasal swab.
At other places, you'll be given a testing kit for an oral swab that you can administer yourself.
The turnaround was "about three days" for L.A. County-operated sites.
"There are certainly some cases in which it's taking longer than three days," Christina Ghaly, director of health services at Los Angeles County Health Agency, told us. "That number is an average."
Many of you asked us about this.
Some people were told their test results would be available in one or two days, and it wound up being five. Others said they were told five days, and they were still waiting.
The city/county guidance says results typically take "3-5 days."
When they're ready, you will be notified by email. Results can then be viewed online.
If you don't have an email address, you will get a call.
And here are some steps you can take if it's been more than five days and you're still waiting.
It's a blood test to see if you've formed antibodies against the coronavirus, which is a way of telling whether you've ever had it, even if you never developed symptoms. Antibodies are proteins your body produces to fight infections.
This test hasn't gotten as much attention as the test to see if you actively have the coronavirus, but widespread testing for antibodies will be crucial to figuring out how much the virus has spread, how deadly it is, and when we might get back to something approximating normal life.
To help kickstart that effort, L.A. County and USC teamed up to test for antibodies in 1,000 Angelenos.
County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis told us that people will be tested to determine if they've been infected, and if so, "what their antibodies look like." Davis said the data will help to make some "general estimates and predictions" about how far the virus has spread and how deadly it is.
At least one SoCal hospital is experimenting with transferring antibodies from a recovered patient. The hope is that the antibodies will attack the virus to help a sick person heal.
The county/USC study participants are all adults, and they were selected to create a random sample that reflects the county's demographic makeup. They'll got the "serology" test at six drive-thru sites on April 10 and 11, according to ABC7.
Those leading the study intend to repeat the tests every two weeks for three months.
Neerja Sood, a vice dean at USC involved in the project, told The Washington Post that the test kits were donated by a private individual who read his Wall Street Journal op-ed about the importance of randomized testing.
Preliminary findings were announced April 20. The data suggests many more people in L.A. County could potentially be infected than the official count. It also suggests the mortality rate for the county could be lower.
L.A. County Department of Public Health says:
"A person with a positive COVID-19 test but no symptoms is considered to be infectious from 48 hours before their test was taken until 10 days after their test."
Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, told us: "We don't have conclusive evidence on that."
She said that "in general you can be protected when you've had an infection, but not always. We're just going to have to wait for the researchers and the scientists to let us know what they're finding out about that."
There is no vaccine yet. But scientists started working on a plan in January, before COVID-19 even had a name. A number of companies have been in development, and clinical trials are underway. The timeline is unknown, but experts have been weighing in with estimates.
For treatment, at least one SoCal hospital was experimenting with transferring antibodies from a recovered patient. The hope was that the antibodies would attack the virus to help a sick person heal.
Cedars-Sinai was participating in a clinical trial of the drug Remdesivir. The experimental antiviral drug had shown encouraging results, the hospital announced on April 10. On May 1, it was approved by the FDA for emergency treatment for COVID-19. The effectiveness of Remdesivir is still being studied.
The CDC's guidance for clinical management of the virus includes, "infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated."
For children who develop the associated illness MIS-C, the CDC says doctors may order blood tests, chest x-rays, echocardiograms, and abdominal ultrasounds to look for inflammation or other signs of disease. They may also provide supportive care like medicine and fluids for symptoms, and medication to treat inflammation, noting:
"Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. Some will need to be treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU)."
But the drug was found to have no preventative benefit in a study published June 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found it to be no more effective than a placebo. It "did not prevent healthy people exposed to someone with COVID-19 from getting the disease," according to a report from The Washington Post.
Then, for even more controversy, there was this.
The FDA withdrew its emergency use approval on June 15:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) that allowed for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be used to treat certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19 when a clinical trial was unavailable, or participation in a clinical trial was not feasible. The agency determined that the legal criteria for issuing an EUA are no longer met.
Meanwhile, the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority — the federal outfit managing coronavirus vaccine and treatment efforts — filed a whistleblower complaint that claims "he was demoted and reassigned after he refused to promote the drug's widespread use," The Hill reported. "Bright initially wrote to FDA to authorize the emergency use, a move he now claims he made under duress."
There's currently no established link between ibuprofen and coronavirus complications, but there has been a lot of conflicting information circulated.
The World Health Organization officially weighed in on Twitter on March 18 with this guidance, in all its double negative glory:
Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen.
The CDC has issued no coronavirus-related guidance regarding the use of anti-inflammatories as of March 20.