UPDATE 6:10 P.M.: Several hours after Dr. Ferrer’s widely-reported comments regarding the extension of the stay-at-home order, her office sent out a clarifying statement intended to partially walk back her earlier comments.
“While the Safer at Home orders will remain in place over the next few months, restrictions will be gradually relaxed under our five-stage Roadmap to Recovery, while making sure we are keeping our communities as safe as possible during this pandemic,” Ferrer’s statement reads.
The revised statement–confirming that, even if the order ultimately remains in place for several months, there are likely to be a number of intervening steps taken toward normalization during that time–was issued after Kathryn Barger, chair of the county board of supervisors, put out a statement of her own, saying Ferrer’s comments from earlier in the day had been “taken out of context.”
“Relaxing the restrictions in the Safer at Home order is an important focus for the County, which will be done gradually over the next few months,” Barger wrote.
L.A. County Public Health chief Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced on Tuesday that the county stay-at-home order will “with all certainty” be extended through July. The announcement comes as numbers of confirmed cases and deaths in the county continue to grow.
While Ferrer stated that there could be intermediate baby steps toward normalization during the coming three months, the Los Angeles Times reports that, in order to roll back restrictions completely, officials are looking for a variety of things to be in place that aren’t yet ready. That includes making testing so rapid and widespread that Angelenos might be able to self-test at home daily before going out, and making additional therapeutics widely accessible.
News of plans to keep the bulk of the county’s stay-at-home order in place comes just a day before the county is set to reopen beaches, and quickly on the heels of the reopening of some hiking trails, recreation facilities, and retailers. Those relaxations of the policy will stay in place, at least for now.
“It’s safer to stay at home,” Ferrer said. “COVID-19 has not changed.”
Going too far, too fast in a rush to reopen could have dire consequences. In some regions where orders have been lifted, new cases began to spring up shortly after residents began to return to normal routines. During his Monday briefing, Mayor Eric Garcetti reminded residents of his oft-cited statistic that, if stay-at-home orders are not extended, 95 percent of Angelenos could be infected with COVID-19 by August.