May 29, 2020 at 9:46 pm PDT | by Brody Levesque
COVID-19 Daily; SCOTUS upholds CA pandemic cap on worship gatherings, LA cases continue rising as business reopen expands

LOS ANGELES- For the third day in a row, the number of positive results tests for COVID-19 rose in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) confirmed 50 new deaths and 1,824 new cases. Some of the new cases reported are from a backlog of test results. To date, LACDPH has identified 51,562 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 2,290 deaths.

A researcher with the University of Southern California (USC) with knowledge of the ongoing testing program with LACDPH but not authorized to speak to media representatives told the Los Angeles Blade Friday afternoon that a primary reason for the recent ‘spike’ in positive results was attributable to health officials identifying results pointing to asymptomatic persons who are spreading the virus infecting others before being identified as positive spreaders. The researcher also pointed out that greater access to widespread testing as well as clearing the backlog was allowing experts to gain a clearer understanding of the extent of the infection.

USC and LACDPH experts first made public the early results in late April, based on testing results from 863 adults, the research team estimated that approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population had the antibody to the virus at the time.

Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an interview with National Public Radio said,

One of the [pieces of] information that we have confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25 percent.”

According to CNN, researchers in Iceland reported that 50 percent of their COVID-19 cases who tested positive also had no symptoms. The testing had been conducted by deCODE, a subsidiary of Thousand Oaks, Calif. based Biotech company Amgen.

Tracing the virus in addition to testing is critical to prevent the disease and serve as a reminder about the importance of adhering to the county’s mask and social distancing requirements, especially as significant modifications to the ‘Safer-at-Home’ order are being made and restrictions eased.

Friday morning Los Angeles County and City officials announced that hair salons and barbershops can reopen and in-person dining in restaurants can resume immediately with safeguards

This is an important milestone for Los Angeles County as we transition to being Safer at Work and Safer in our Communities and move forward in our path of reopening and recovery,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I am grateful to our state and local leaders for their partnership and collaboration in supporting the residents and businesses of Los Angeles County.”

In West Hollywood, the popular LGBTQ nightspot, The Abbey announced on its Facebook Page that it would re-open with limited seating Saturday at 11:30 AM but the bar will remain closed.

In a 5-4 vote Friday, the U. S. Supreme Court with Chief Justice John Roberts joining with the liberal minority, rejected an emergency appeal of a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week upholding a restriction by Gov. Gavin Newsom which capped church services at 25 percent capacity or 100 people.

The suit had been brought by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista which sought to hold full services without restrictions this weekend, despite stay-at-home orders issued by California and San Diego County. The church argued the orders were unconstitutional because they discriminate against places of worship.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Friday extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through July 28.

The order also addresses a variety of issues in response to the pandemic, by extending the waiver permitting the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow for mail-in renewals of driver’s licenses and identification cards, and waiving certain programmatic and administrative requirements that restrict child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers.

The specifications for the easement of restrictions for the phased reopening of businesses in Los Angeles include:

Barbershops and Hair Salons —

Physical distancing measures will be in place;

Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever; clients feeling unwell should reschedule their appointment;

Everyone, including clients, must wear cloth face coverings while in the salon or barbershop and clients are encouraged to wear face coverings with ear-loops to ensure the face-covering does not interfere with the hair service;

Magazines, coffee, and other amenities will not be available;

Clients are encouraged to use credit cards and contactless payment systems; if electronic or card payment is not possible, customers should come with an exact cash payment or check, if available; and

Stylists may only serve one client at a time.

In-Person Dining in Restaurants —

Physical distancing measures will be in place;

Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever; patrons feeling unwell should not eat at a restaurant;

Outdoor seating and curbside pickup are prioritized;

Reservations will be encouraged;

Customers will be asked to wait for their table in their cars or outside the restaurant to prevent crowds from gathering;

Diners must wear cloth face coverings when not eating;

Bar areas will be closed; and

Occupancy capacity will be limited to 60 percent for the next three weeks.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Los Angeles County announced standards for safe and swift reopening Functions and activities now permitted with this announcement include:

All retail, including those located in indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers, may now open for business at 50-percent capacity;

Faith-based organizations may resume services, with the number of congregants limited to less than 25 percent of the building’s capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower;

Flea markets, swap meets, and drive-in movie theaters may resume operations; and

Pools, hot tubs, and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association may now open.

The following types of businesses and organizations remain closed or prohibited at this time in accordance with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Orders:

Personal grooming/nail salons;

Personal grooming/spa services, including massage, facials and waxing;

Gyms and fitness centers;

Beach piers;

Indoor entertainment venues including arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, live performance theaters, concert halls, stadiums, arenas, theme parks, gaming facilities and festivals; and

Indoor museums, galleries, and zoos.

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