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Health

County of LA Declares Coronavirus a Local Health Emergency

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LOS ANGELES –Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) and the Department of Public Health (Public Health) declared a local and public health emergency in response to increased spread of coronavirus across the country and six additional cases in LA County. Public Health stated that none of the new cases are from community spread, and all of these new cases were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. None of these cases were linked to the first case reported in LA County in January. 

“These declarations are a swift response to this emergent issue and will enhance our ability to effectively manage our response,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “These actions will allow us to have even greater coordination to protect our more than 10 million residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” she added. Public Health simultaneously issued a declaration of a local public health emergency. 

“My first priority is, and always will be, to protect the public health of our residents and that means ensuring we have the necessary equipment and resources in place should the threat of COVID-19 escalate in the County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Fear will not drive our response to this virus. Rather, we will prepare and implement our proven prevention strategies to effectively protect the public.” 

“We will continue to mobilize county resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate with agencies across the county and state and federal partners, and raise awareness about how everyone can be prepared for more cases and community spread ,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. 

“As more cases are identified and community spread is detected in numerous areas, the possibility of sustained community spread of this virus in the US will increase,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Public Health. “Everyone and every organization has to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus.” 

Public Health will be enhancing efforts to include the following: 

  • Testing at our Public Health Lab: Public Health is among ten California health labs to receive CDC test kits, with additional kits on the way and we will be able to test locally for COVID-19. 
  • Ensuring that people who are positive for novel coronavirus and their close contacts are quickly identified and closely monitored and supported while they are in isolation and/or quarantined. 
  • Daily radio briefing updates by the Public Health Director and Health Officer. 
  • New guidance for childcare facilities, schools, colleges and universities, employers, hotels, public safety responders, shelters, congregate living facilities and parents on how to prepare for and slow the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Weekly telebriefings with elected officials, city managers, and leaders at businesses, organizations, schools, faith-based communities and healthcare facilities (this includes over 3500 identified contacts). 
  • Site visits to every interim housing facility to assist the implementation of environmental practices and modifications that can reduce transmission of respiratory illness. 
  • Communication and preparation with our first responders, healthcare facility partners and healthcare providers to ensure continued readiness for this dynamic situation, including ensuring adequate PPE supplies for healthcare workers. 
  • Updating our pandemic response plan for COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidance and local conditions.

“Our local healthcare system is well prepared to treat more cases should the need arise, particularly among vulnerable populations that require significant clinical care,” Ferrer added. “Specific guidance documents allow each of us to take steps to be prepared, including personal actions that can make a difference in disease transmission.” 

And although there is no current need for significant social distancing measures in LA County, and the individual risk for contracting COVID-19 remains low for most individuals in the County, all community members should take the opportunity to plan for the possibility of more significant social distancing requirements should there be broad community spread. Personal preparation measures include: 

  • Having an ample supply of essentials at home (including water, food, hygiene, medications, and pet food); 
  • Planning for the possibility of business disruptions, school closures, and modifications/cancellations of select public events; 
  • Practicing simple social distancing strategies that limit your exposure to others who may be ill (verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs, not sharing utensils, cups and linens, staying six feet apart from others at public events).

LA County is prepared to manage and investigate suspected and confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. Public Health will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions to be taken to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus and to care for those who may become ill with this virus. As with other respiratory infections, there are steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. 

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including novel coronavirus, are: 

  • Stay home if you are sick. Sick people make well people sick. 
  • If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor. 
  • Certain patients, such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying health conditions should call their doctor earlier. 
  • If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Get immunized against the flu to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.

Public Health is also asking businesses, schools, and community-based organizations to prepare plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick (even mildly) without the risk of being academically or financially penalized. This includes the option to work from home or to complete assignments remotely, where possible. Public Health is requesting organizations do the following: 

  • Make sure you are using a robust, regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for frequently touched surfaces. 
  • Ensure that your continuity of operations (COOP) plans are up to date, so their essential functions can continue. 
  • Not require a doctor’s note for staff returning to work after being sick, when possible. This will reduce the strain on the healthcare system. These actions will go a long way to protect individuals and healthcare services that may be affected once novel coronavirus begins to spread more widely.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus: 

The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit  www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov  , and follow LA County Public Health on social media at  twitter.com/l acounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lap ublichealthfacebook.com/lapublichealthinstagra m.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/ lapublichealth

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Health

County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family

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LOS ANGELES – 300 iPads have been donated to Los Angeles County hospitals to facilitate patient-family communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift is through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Brilliant Corners, and the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.

“The engagement of loved ones during hospitalization has been shown to improve clinical outcomes,” said DHS Director, Dr. Christina Ghaly. “Clinical staff identified a role for virtual visiting through technology in order to facilitate this family involvement. The generous donations by the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand will help support this critical element of our patients’ care.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient visitation by family and loved ones is limited at facilities in order to prevent exposure and the spread of disease. While there are some exceptions, such as the birth of a child or death of a patient, visitation is not permitted for the vast majority of patients and not allowed at all for COVID-19 patients. 

The donation provides 300 iPads to ensure patients and their families are able to connect, despite restrictions in access to the hospital. A second donation, by MobileDemand, provides rugged, protective healthcare iPad cases to protect against damage and loss. The rugged case also has an adjustable easel attached, providing effortless viewing for patients who are too weak to hold a tablet. Additionally, it frees health care staff from having to hold the device for patients.

“This is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government, and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in our community,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those suffering and to alleviate some of the stress from our frontline caregivers is of utmost importance.”

While social distancing has been successful in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months. With this gift, physicians and nurses will be able to place an iPad in the room of COVID and other critically-ill patients for the duration of the admission and reduce potential exposure and use of personal protective equipment going in and out of the room. Having a stationary iPad helps relieve medical staff who would otherwise have to hold the phone for a patient or search for the person’s personal phone. It also will allow patients who do not have a personal mobile device to communicate and “visit” with their family.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 26 health centers and four hospitals – LAC+USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center – and expanded network of community partner clinics, DHS annually provides direct care for 600,000 unique patients, employs over 22,000 staff, and has an annual budget of over $6 billion.

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Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is putting a strain on essential workers such as first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines in the effort to care for coronavirus patients so the City of West Hollywood is setting out to recognize them in a special way on May 6.

National Nurses Day is a day of recognition to celebrate and honor the contributions that nurses have made and continue to make in our communities and throughout the nation. National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6, which marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long celebration to raise awareness of the value of nursing and educate the public on the role nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of Americans. National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, or as she was more commonly known, “The Lady of the Lamp” and founder of modern nursing.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating two motorcades to honor healthcare workers on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, which is nationally recognized as National Nurses Day. The processions will begin at 9:45 a.m. and at 7:15 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard and the motorcades will head west and then travel southbound on N. San Vicente Boulevard passing multiple medical center locations in West Hollywood en route to a destination outside the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Gracie Allen Drive. First responders will briefly stop, exit their vehicles and applaud healthcare workers while wearing face coverings and practicing appropriate social distancing.

“Our nurses and healthcare workers are nothing short of heroes,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey P. Horvath. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how critical their work is to our everyday health and safety. This National Nurses Day means so much more to all of us — the City of West Hollywood and our LA County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station and LA County Fire Stations; the City of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Police and Fire; the City of Los Angeles and LAPD and LAFD; the California Highway Patrol, and more — and we will honor these heroes in a special way for the care that they provide, which often goes unseen and unrecognized, in carrying us through this crisis.”

“As the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the critical importance of nurses in our society has been brought sharply into focus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “More often than not, when a coronavirus patient ends up in a hospital, it is the nurses at the frontlines who are responsible for their care and treatment, putting themselves at risk in the process. We can’t say ‘thank you’ strongly enough.”

The City of West Hollywood encourages residents and community members to participate during this day of celebration while still adhering to LA County Safer At Home Orders and social distancing requirements. Suggested forms of participation include amplifying posts on social media channels, making yard or window signs and banners, participating in a coordinated daily applause or shout out for nurses and healthcare workers, and donating to organizations that are addressing the emerging needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than four million registered nurses in the United States. Registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce and are the primary providers of hospital patient care, delivering most of the nation’s long-term care. In nursing, where workers are on the front lines of patient interactions, women make up more than 85 percent of the workforce. This year, with the onset of coronavirus, nurses have stepped up and shown the incredible impact they have on our healthcare system. It is more important than ever that we recognize National Nurses Day and celebrate the significance of nurses every day.

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Health

Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

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Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.

TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.

There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.

Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.

As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.

We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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