L.A. veers closer to stay-at-home order

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People eating at the Sidewalk Cafe & Bar along Ocean Front Walk in Venice on Monday.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County’s explosive surge in coronavirus cases continued Monday, as county public health director Barbara Ferrer announced another record-high number of daily cases.

Last week, county officials outlined a tiered course of action for implementing more drastic restrictions, with the path forward based on the county’s five-day average of new coronavirus cases and daily hospitalization numbers. The plan was laid out in two parts, with one threshold that would trigger a suspension of in-person dining, and a second higher threshold that would trigger a new stay-at-home order.

In a devastating blow to Los Angeles’ struggling restaurant and hospitality industry, county officials announced Sunday they would suspend outdoor dining starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday after the five-day average of new cases surpassed their self-set threshold of 4,000.

Monday’s case tally pushed Los Angeles County’s five-day average further upward — surpassing its self-set threshold for issuing a new stay-at-home order — but no action has yet been taken.

As my colleagues report, when such an order will be handed down, or what precise form it will take, remains unclear. Although Ferrer did clarify that what comes next will be more limited than what we saw in the spring.

The County Board of Supervisors is set to meet Tuesday, and additional information is likely to follow that meeting.

Amid the continued surge, the county public health department and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti advised Angelenos to cancel Thanksgiving gatherings with people from other households — even if those gatherings would be held outside.

In a tweet, the public health department warned that given the surge in cases, “gathering with people you don’t live with, even outdoors, can increase the risk of getting or spreading #COVID19.”

“This pandemic at this moment is threatening to spiral out of control,” Garcetti said Monday evening. “We’re at the highest risk level that we have been. We’re seeing numbers that literally three weeks ago were half as much.” Garcetti warned that if the surge continues at this rate, “our hospitals won’t have any spare beds at Christmas time.”

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