L.A. County adopts new stay-at-home order amid COVID surge – Los Angeles Times

As the number of new coronavirus cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County, health officials Friday issued a temporary stay-at-home order that will take effect Monday.

The restrictions, which will last for three weeks, are not as severe as those imposed this spring.

“Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others,” the county health department said.

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The order prohibits all public and private gatherings with individuals not in the same household, except for religious services and protests.

It imposes new occupancy limits on businesses, such as personal care and retail, but does not close them. Beaches, trails and parks will remain open, but gatherings at those sites with nonhousehold members are banned

The new rules come just two days after restaurants in much of L.A. County were ordered to suspend outdoor dining. The decision sparked a backlash from restaurant owners and some elected officials, who called the rules too restrictive for the already struggling industry.

Officials had warned new restrictions were coming.

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L.A. County was reporting a seven-day average of nearly 4,300 new coronavirus cases a day as of Wednesday, the third consecutive day that number has hit a new high. Unless something dramatic is done to slow transmission, that number is on track to double within two weeks and quadruple in a month, officials said.

Officials said hospitals could see a shortage of beds — especially in intensive care units — over the next two to four weeks if these trends continue. But hospitals are better equipped now than they were in the spring to handle a surge in cases, treatment for COVID-19 has significantly improved, and hospitals can cancel elective surgeries to make more room.

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Countywide COVID-19 hospitalizations have already more than doubled in just three weeks, from about 800 on Halloween to just under 1,700 as of Tuesday.

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Times staff writers Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money contriubuted this report.

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