Home Health News LA County health staff get threats of death, violence even as coronavirus deaths, cases climb, officials say – LA Daily News

LA County health staff get threats of death, violence even as coronavirus deaths, cases climb, officials say – LA Daily News

14 min read
8
7

Staffers for the LA County Department of Public Health have received death threats since March, as they remain the face of response efforts to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a written statement by Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Monday morning, June 22.

The threats of violence and death have come via emails, public postings and letters, according to the statement, put out shortly before Ferrer provided an update on the coronavirus in LA County at an afternoon press conference. The revelation came two weeks after her Orange County counterpart resigned amid threats of violence against her.

Ferrer did not provide details, either in her statement or during the briefing, about how many threats she and her staff have received. But she did urge unity as the county works its way through the pandemic.

“We would love for the discourse to shift,” Ferrer said, “and talk together about how we mark our way through the recovery journey.”

The county cautiously reopened the economy over the past several weeks — most recently allowing bars, nail salons and tattoo parlors to resume operations on Friday, June 19 — though officials have had to tread carefully, balancing the desires of those who say the region’s reopening has moved to slowly and those who warn the pandemic remains a risk.

Underscoring the ongoing risk, Ferrer on Monday reported 18 additional deaths related to the coronavirus and 2,571 new cases countywide. There were 3,137 total deaths associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 85,942 cases as of Monday, she said.

So far, 97% of those who have died had underlying health conditions.

Of the 18 people the county confirmed on Monday to have died, 13 were older than 65, nine of whom had underlying health condition; and four were in the 41-to-65-year-old range, all whom had underlying health conditions. The 18th death came from Pasadena on Sunday, June 21.

Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments, so the county’s data on those cities are typically a day behind.

Long Beach on Monday reported no new coronavirus-related deaths, but 60 additional cases. That city’s death toll was 120 and its total number of cases was 3,042, as of Monday.

Pasadena had not reported additional deaths and cases as of 3 p.m. Monday; but as of Sunday, its death toll was 88 and its total number of cases was 1,162.

Countywide, Ferrer noted, Monday marked the third time in the past week that health officials reported more than 2,000 cases in a single day — even as more and more business start opening. While lags in reporting contributed some to Monday’s high case count, the data shows the county is seeing an increase in community transmission, she said.

“Please make slowing the spread of (COVID-19) one of the many things you do throughout your day,” Ferrer said. “What we really saw today, and I think what we’ve been seeing all along, is what I call a real increase that contributed to more community transmission.”

The current daily positive rate was 8.4% over a seven-day average, Ferrer said, a jump from 5.8% on June 10.

The most important metric to watch now, Ferrer said, is how case increases translate to hospitalizations.

There were 1,453 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, 28% of whom were in intensive care units and 19% of whom were on ventilators. While those numbers have stayed steady, Ferrer said, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to isolate if we think we have been exposed to the virus, have had it or are waiting for test results.

Dr. Chrisina Ghaly, director of health services for the county, added that even as stay-at-home orders get progressively loosened, individuals are still susceptible to getting COVID-19 — so their actions remain the bulwark against the virus spreading. Contraction of the virus depends on how close you were to an infected person, how long you were near that individual, and the nature of the interaction, she added.

Because people with mild or no symptoms can spread the virus, Ghaly said, a test is only helpful if it comes back positive.

There are enough hospital beds and ventilators to meet potential hospitalization demand over the next four weeks, Ghaly said, but ICU beds are more limited because people with non-coronavirus illnesses and injuries are increasing as well.

“The number of beds (in ICU) could become inadequate,” Ghaly said, “if transmission increase continues to grow.”

She urged those who have been in crowded spaces and live with older people or those with underlying conditions to stay away from those housemates, and wear face coverings when around them.

Ferrer, meanwhile, said she and her team understand and appreciate people expressing how they feel about the pandemic. But, she added, it becomes harder to work when people get angry with you and take county health reports personally.

“The virus has changed our world as we know it, and people are angry,” Ferrer said in the written statement Monday morning. “We mourn every single one of those deaths, and we are working tirelessly to slow the spread of COVID-19 and find good solutions for the future of our communities.

“While the devastation experienced by so many is heartbreaking,” she added, “it is also disheartening that an increasing number of public health officials, across the country — myself included — are threatened with violence on a regular basis.”

Dr. Nichole Quick, the former chief health officer for Orange County, resigned earlier this month after receiving such threats.

Ferrer began receiving death threats last month during a COVID-19 Facebook Live public briefing, when someone casually suggested that she should be shot, she said.

“I didn’t immediately see the message,” Ferrer said, “but my husband did, my children did, and so did my colleagues.”

Ferrer heads the daily briefings, she added, to shield her team from the attacks.

“It is deeply worrisome to imagine,” Ferrer said, “that our hardworking infectious disease physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and environmental health specialists or any of our other team members would have to face this level of hatred.”

In Long Beach, City Health Officer Anissa Davis said on Monday that she and her staff have not received death threats.

Pasadena health officials, meanwhile, have previously referred to the threats of death and violence their counterparts nationwide have received when rebuffing criticism from the City Council there. But it was unclear whether Pasadena officials themselves have received threats, and a city spokesperson was unable to confirm either way on Monday afternoon.

Ferrer, for her part, acknowledged the frustration many feel over stay-at-home restrictions, which have led to job losses and economic struggles. But she also made clear that even as these rules are being relaxed and businesses are reopening, the fight against the virus is far from over.

“Our job and our calling is to keep as many people as safe as possible during this pandemic,” Ferrer said. “We did not create this virus.

“While frustration boils over in our communities as people are done with this virus,” she added, “this virus is not done with us.”

The Public Health Department, Ferrer said, “must follow the science” — which dictates change.

“The science says if we don’t change the way we go about our daily routines,” Ferrer said, “we could pay for it with our lives or the lives of others around us.”

Ferrer compared the push back surrounding wearing face masks — one of several health guidelines, which also include hand-washing and keeping at least 6 feet of distance from others — to when California made wearing seat belts mandatory.

“The data proves that seatbelts save lives, and also proves that wearing a face covering will help stop transmission of COVID-19, which will save lives,” Ferrer said. “That’s what drives public health officials and is our passion: saving lives.

“Change is hard,” she added. “But we must change if we want to contain this virus.”

Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source link

8 Comments

  1. ปั้มไลค์

    June 23, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

    Reply

  2. Thanks so much for the blog post.

    Reply

  3. These are actually great ideas in concerning blogging.

    Reply

  4. เบอร์มงคล

    June 23, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Good one! Interesting article over here. It’s pretty worth enough for me.

    Reply

  5. SMS

    June 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    These are actually great ideas in concerning blogging.

    Reply

  6. Sal Ill

    August 12, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    You have observed very interesting details ! ps nice site.

    Reply

  7. Drew Eliasen

    August 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    This really answered my drawback, thanks!

    Reply

  8. George Strittmatter

    September 12, 2020 at 9:31 am

    But wanna state that this is extremely helpful, Thanks for taking your time to write this.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

U.K study finds sharp drop in COVID-19 antibodies just months after infection – SFGate

One of the vexing things about coronaviruses like the common cold is that the immune respo…