Home > Local > L.A. Mayor Says City Entering ‘Darkest Month,’ SB County IDs New COVID-19 Strain

L.A. Mayor Says City Entering ‘Darkest Month,’ SB County IDs New COVID-19 Strain

By: Manny Otiko, IVN Staff Writer

The coronavirus continues to strain the health system in the Los Angeles-area. L.A. has seen so many coronavirus cases that hospitals are turning people away because they’re full. Medical workers are already beginning to ration healthcare and instructing ambulance drivers not to bring people who might not survive to the emergency room. And drivers face long waits to get patients admitted. 

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that even worse days were ahead. In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Garcetti sounded a dire warning.

“This is the darkest month,” said Garcetti. He added that one of the reasons why the virus has spread so rapidly in the county was because of population density. 

However, he said L.A. should serve as a warning to other locations. According to Garcetti, other parts of the country could soon face what the city is experiencing. 

According to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health press release, the area has seen 11,000 COVID-19-related deaths and 840,000 positive cases. The press release also stated that 21 percent of the more than 7,000 people hospitalized with the disease are currently in Intensive Care Units. 

“As a community, we must commit to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks so that we can save as many lives as possible. Roll out for COVID-19 vaccine continues in the phases recommended by the State and CDC as supply allows,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “And while vaccines are a powerful tool, we do not need to wait for the vaccine to stop new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death. We can do that now. It takes every business and every resident to purposefully follow public health directives and safety measures. Please stay home and leave only for essential work or essential services.”

People returning to Los Angeles are now required to quarantine for 10 days and monitor their symptoms for another 14 days. 

In related news, a new strain of the disease has been identified. The new mutated version of the coronavirus was first identified in England. Both England and Scotland are now on lockdown. However, the B117 strain of the virus has been identified in San Bernadino County. 

Currently, more than 240,000 people in San Bernardino County have been infected with the disease and there have been 1,400 deaths. More than 28,000 people have been vaccinated, according to health department statistics. 

“These cases were among results collected from members of one Big Bear-area household on Dec. 20. One member of the household had contact with a traveler who returned from the United Kingdom on Dec. 11 and began showing symptoms on Dec. 14,” according to a health department press release. 

“Based on the information currently available, we know that the B117 variant strain seems to spread more easily and quickly,” said Dr. Michael Sequeira, county health officer. “Therefore, following all safe practices is more important than ever.”

However, despite all these warnings and dire statistics, many people still aren’t taking the disease seriously. A Twitter video showed a group of “anti-maskers” staging a protest at a Century City mall over the weekend. 

They chanted “No more masks” and held up placards as they paraded through the mall. None of their faces were covered. Kirk Cameron, a Hollywood actor-turned-Evangelical minister, has also staged anti-mask rallies around Los Angeles. 

Much of California continues to be under a lockdown order by Gov. Gavin Newsom. And that’s proving to be unpopular in certain regions. 

A recall effort has already reached 1 million voters. The effort was spurred by Orange County billionaire John Kruger who donated $500,000 to the cause. The recall effort needs about 1.8 million signatures to get on the March ballot. 

According to NBC Los Angeles, Anne Hyde Dunsmore, honorary chair of Rescue California, the group behind the recall effort, said former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former gubernatorial candidate John Cox are contenders to replace Newsom. 

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