Lots of COVID-19 news this week (and it’s only Tuesday!)…and almost none of it is good.
First, due to increasing infection rates and record numbers of new cases reported in Los Angeles over the last week or so, LA County and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered that “bars, breweries, brew pubs, pubs, wineries and tasting rooms” be re-closed as of Sunday, June 28.
And then on Monday (yesterday), LA County announced that all County-controlled “beaches, beach parking lots, beach bike paths, beach facilities and beach accessways will be closed from 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3, until 5 a.m. Monday, July 6,” to help prevent large gatherings during the upcoming holiday weekend. Fourth of July fireworks displays in LA County will also be prohibited, to keep people from gathering in large groups. (And yes, that includes our usual local display at the Wilshire Country Club, which announced its cancellation just a day or two ahead of the official order.)
And large gatherings – such as parties – will also continue to be prohibited for the holiday and forseeable future.
More About the Increases
According to a statement released by the County, more than 2,900 new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday, “the single largest one-day case count since the pandemic began.” The numbers also predict “a marked increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks, which could cause a surge in our healthcare system.”
LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in the statement:
“Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus. The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19…We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part. Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities.”
In addition to the daily case count, the County also released numbers showing:
- A rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases.
- That LA County has surpassed 100,000 positive cases (100,772 cases, as of today).
- The County’s test positivity rate has jumped to nearly 9% (from 6% in late May), even as testing capacity has remained high.
- Transmission rates have increased in the County
- “Hospitalizations are increasing steeply…with a 27% increase in daily hospitalizations (from 1,319 on May 14th to 1,669 on June 27th) in just two weeks.
- One in 140 people are now infectious in LA County. (Last week, it was 1 in 400.)
All of which prompted the tighter rules for the coming holiday weekend. “It is now time for a pause,” said Garcetti in his statement. “We simply cannot risk people’s lives.”
Fourth of July Advice for Pets
While big public fireworks displays have been prohibited in LA this year, as noted above, we also realize that the illegal fireworks activity in our area and others will likely continue. Which means that dangers for our pets during the holiday weekend are still high. As usual, the LA Department of Animal Services – which sees the largest uptick of the year in lost and runaway animals during the July 4 season – has offered some great tips for keeping your furry family members safe:
— Stay away from fireworks. Fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles. Even if your pet does not seem obviously upset by fireworks, they can still cause harm to our animal friends. You can prevent potential burns, injuries, or possible ingestion of fireworks, which can be fatal for pets, by keeping out of the vicinity of fireworks and asking friends and neighbors to avoid using them.
— Keep your pets indoors and create a calm environment. The 4th of July and the days following are the busiest times at LA Animal Services Centers. Many pets escape their homes because they are afraid of the loud sounds from fireworks. The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they stay indoors, in an enclosed room or familiar crate with some of their favorite toys, and play soothing and calming music. If you do allow your pet outside, be sure that your gates or fence are secure or that your pet stays on a leash.
— Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. If your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar or harness with a current license and/or ID tag on it and a microchip that is registered with your contact information, will help reunite you with your furry family member right away!
— To find out about getting or renewing your dog’s license, visit laanimalservices.com/laws-policies/animal-licenses.
— If your pet is not microchipped, you can click on this link for more information on how to get your furry family member microchipped. You may also contact any of our LA Animal Services Centers at (888) 452-7381, and schedule an appointment. The cost for the general public is $15.00 per animal. Most veterinary clinics also offer microchipping.
— Start looking for your lost pet right away. We encourage people who have lost their pet dog to post a photo and description of their furry friend on LA City Lost and Found Pets, Nextdoor.com, Pawboost.com, or Shadowapp.com, to improve the chances of reuniting with their companion animals. According to an ASPCA survey, about half of missing dogs and a third of missing cats were found by searching their local neighborhoods.
In addition to posting online, LA Animal Services also suggests that individuals who find a lost pet, and who are able to do so, provide temporary home care for these companion animals through our Shelter-at-Home program. Shelter-at-Home expands LA Animal Services’ foster program and increases community involvement in helping findanimals’ owners, and enabling pets to be held in less stressful-environments.
If you cannot provide temporary foster care, DO NOT LEAVE the dog orcat in an unsafe place. Please call 888-452-7381 right away and make arrangements to get them to the closest Animal Services Center.
For more information on what to do if your pet goes missing, go to laanimalservices.com/about-animals/lost-pet. To find out what to do if you find a stray or lost animal, visit laanimalservices.com/found-pet.
Adopt or foster and help save more pets. To ensure there is lifesaving space in our Animal Services Centers during this upcoming holiday weekend, please consider adopting or fostering one of our amazing animals. Click here for more information on how you can adopt or foster a new furry friend.
PLEASE NOTE: Our LA Animal Services Centers are open by appointment only. We will-be closed on Friday, July 3 as part of the City of Los Angeles’ observation of the holiday, and will be open by appointment on July 4. If you have a pet emergency please call 888-452-7381 to get in contact with your nearest Animal Services Center.
Some Ideas for a Fun Fourth
And, finally, since we won’t have beaches, parties or big fireworks shows to celebrate the Fourth of July this year, what will we have? Well, the New York Times has some good suggestions for a safe celebration, which we thought were worth passing along.
For example, you can watch televised fireworks from other cities, including a compilation from several locations around New York City, broadcast at 5 p.m. Pacific time on NBC…or the Washington, D.C. “A Capitol Fourth” celebration, broadcast on PBS at the same time.
Closer to home, LA’s Grand Park 4th of July celebration has also gone online this year, and will stream live at https://july4.grandparkla.org/, on YouTube, and on KABC-7 TV.
The Times story also lists many other online fireworks events, as well as the traditional Boston Pops holiday performance, and a bunch of other suggestions, including:
- Virtual tours of national landmarks
- Movies about the country’s founding
- A reading of the Declaration of Independence
- Holiday-themed cooking projects
…and many more. See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/at-home/celebrate-fourth-of-july-coronavirus.html for all the details, with links to specific suggestions in each category.
So while our holiday won’t be quite the same this year, there are still many ways to celebrate safely.