Los Angeles

Coronavirus: US Navy Deploying Hospital Ships, Newsom Warns 56% Of Californians ‘Will Be Infected’

SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — A pair of floating Navy hospital ships will soon be headed to the east and west coasts to help with the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re sending upon request the two hospital ships that are being prepared right now,” President Donald Trump said in a Wednesday morning briefing. One of those ships, USNS Comfort, is based in Virginia and will be sent to New York City. In a Wednesday letter, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested that its sister ship, USNS Mercy based in San Diego, be stationed at the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 of this year. “In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom said in the letter. “Moreover, we have community acquired transmission in 23 counties with an increase of 44 community acquired infections in 24 hours. We project that 56% of our population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight week period.” The United States Naval Institute reported that the hospital ships will help with non-coronavirus medical care that would bog down civilian hospitals —…

L.A. County releases more inmates from jail amid fears of coronavirus outbreak

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has reduced its inmate population by 6% in the last three weeks to free up space in case the coronavirus enters its jails, officials said. As of Thursday morning, there were no confirmed cases of the virus inside L.A. County jails, where the number of inmates was down to 16,017 inmates from 17,076 on Feb. 28. “We anticipate the count is going to go further down,” said Cmdr. Jason Wolak of the Sheriff’s Department’s Custody Division. “The reason why we’re doing it is so we can have flexibility in the jail in case we’re going to lose a part of it.” The county’s sprawling jail system is the largest in the nation, and many civil rights groups and others have pushed to reduce incarceration levels to prevent lockups from becoming breeding grounds for spread of the virus. Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Tesla suspending production at its Bay Area plant amid coronavirus outbreak

After initially resisting calls from local authorities to shut down operations at its Fremont factory in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, Tesla said it will stop production at the facility. The company, which had kept its factory operating despite a local shelter-in-place order, said it will stop making cars there after March 23. Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York, which makes solar power products, will also suspend production. Continuing to produce cars during this time has simply proved too difficult, Tesla said. “Despite taking all known health precautions, continued operations in certain locations has caused challenges for our employees, their families and our suppliers,” the company said in an announcement. By Wednesday, only about 2,500 of the Tesla factory’s 10,000-person staff were still showing up to the Fremont plant. Other Tesla facilities will continue operations, though, including the Nevada Gigifactory, which makes batteries and battery packs. Work maintaining Tesla’s charger network will also continue, the company said in its announcement. Tesla had argued that its factories were an “essential business,” allowed under shelter-in-place regulations and that production should continue. Even in announcing the shutdown, Tesla said it had…

More than half of Californians will get coronavirus over next 8 weeks, Gov. Newsom says in requesting federal funds

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked Congress for $1 billion in federal funds to support the state’s medical response to the novel coronavirus, which he expects will infect more than half of all Californians. The state projects that roughly 56% of Californians, or 25.5 million people, will be infected with the coronavirus over an eight week period, Newsom said in a letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday requesting the deployment of the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1. In a separate letter sent to the leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Newsom said the financial aid is critical to the state’s ability to procure ventilators and other medical supplies, activate state-run hospitals, deploy mobile hospitals and meet other healthcare needs. The Democratic governor also requested an expansion of unemployment insurance benefits beyond the 26-week maximum and more funding for Medicaid, federal food assistance, housing and homelessness, state-subsidized early learning and childcare and several other safety net programs. Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Man arrested after faking coronavirus, shutting down his South Carolina workplace, sheriff says

A South Carolina man was arrested Thursday after authorities say he falsely claimed to have coronavirus, causing his workplace to shut down for five days, authorities there said. Jeffrey Travis Long of Inman gave his manager at Sitel Corp. a fake doctor’s note dated March 13 stating he’d tested positive for the disease and would have to miss work for two weeks, according to Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright. The customer service center’s offices were subsequently evacuated for “major cleaning” and all employees medically screened at a significant cost to the company, Wright said, according to KTLA sister station WSPA in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Wright said Long exacerbated his coworkers’ anxiety surrounding the outbreak. “It’s bad enough that everybody’s lives is being put in upheaval — just trying to stay safe and get ahead of the curve here, and get a grip on this coronavirus — without having somebody cause, basically, massive panic,” the sheriff said. “I can’t imagine the stress that it caused all his coworkers.” According to Wright, Long also went to a school and “got everybody on the staff there upset, thinking that they’ve…

Coronavirus: US Navy Deploying Hospital Ships, Newsom Requests 1 At Port Of LA

SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — A pair of floating Navy hospital ships will soon be headed to the east and west coasts to help with the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re sending upon request the two hospital ships that are being prepared right now,” President Donald Trump said in a Wednesday morning briefing. The USNS Comfort is based in Virginia and will be sent to New York City. Its sister ship, USNS Mercy based in San Diego, will be docked somewhere on the west coast. In a Wednesday letter, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested that USNS Mercy be stationed at the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 of this year. “In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom said in the letter. “Moreover, we have community acquired transmission in 23 counties with an increase of 44 community acquired infections in 24 hours. We project that 56% of our population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight week period.” The United States Naval Institute reported that the hospital ships will help with non-Coronavirus medical care…

Iconic Casa Vega Restaurant Closes Its Doors Indefinitely Following Coronavirus Shutdown

SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA) — The iconic Casa Vega Restaurant in Sherman Oaks has closed its doors indefinitely following economic strain due to the coronavirus shutdown. Owner Christina Vega shared the news on Instagram Thursday writing, “64 years ago, my father started Casa Vega. It became a place for our community to gather in good times and bad. A place our customers have made their own. Today we are temporarily closing due to COVID-19. We don’t know if this for a few weeks, a month or longer.” View this post on Instagram 64 years ago, my father started Casa Vega. It became a place for our community to gather in good times and bad. A place our customers have made their own. Today we are temporarily closing due to COVID-19. We don’t know if this for a few weeks, a month or longer. As soon as it is safe to welcome everyone to our bar and tables we will do so. The storm can’t last forever. The sun will come. Margaritas will flow again. My treasured Casa Vega staff and I can’t wait to see you…

‘Sexually violent predator’ released in Ventura County to live as transient

An ex-convict designated as a “sexually violent predator” following a string of break-ins and sexual assaults in Ventura during the 1980s was released to live as a transient in a nearby unincorporated area this week after court officials deemed him safe to return to return to the community under conditional release, authorities said. Ross Wollschlager , 56, pictured in a photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department on March 19, 2020. Ross Wollschlager, 56, was released Tuesday into an unincorporated community just north of Ventura, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Clark. “Although Wollschlager has no criminal cases pending against him, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office feels compelled to notify the community that Wollschlager was released from the Department of Hospitals on March 17, 2020 and plans to stay in the unincorporated area of Ventura County, north of the City of Ventura,” Clark said in a written statement. “Wollschlager has no residence and will be registering monthly with the Sheriff’s Office as a transient.” Wollschlager’s criminal history dates back to 1983, when he was arrested in Ventura in connection with multiple sexual…

Dockweiler Beach could become coronavirus quarantine zone

Dockweiler Beach could be used to temporarily house people ordered to isolate or be quarantined because of the novel coronavirus, authorities said. An RV park at Dockweiler Beach at 12001 Vista Del Mar was chosen as one of several locations Los Angeles County is planning to use as temporarily quarantine zones if needed, El Segundo officials said in a news release. People brought to the RV park would likely be those who can’t isolate themselves at a home, the city said. “L.A. County will work with private sector providers, faith-based groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and government partners to support those in isolation or quarantine with comprehensive services to ensure their safety, health and well-being,” the news release read. El Segundo officials asked residents to avoid the area until further notice. COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County jumped to 230 Thursday as a second death was reported. Los Angeles officials plan to turn 42 recreation centers across the city into temporary homeless shelters in an effort to house people on the streets as the county sees more evidence of community transmission of the…

L.A. County coronavirus case count jumps to 230, 2nd death reported

A man with an underlying condition has become the second person to die due to the coronavirus in Los Angeles County, as the number of cases jumped to 230, officials announced Thursday. The person who died was described as a man between 30 and 50 years old who lived in a small community near Pasadena, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said. She did not provide additional details about the man’s underlying condition. Family members identified the patient on social media as 34-year-old Jeffrey Ghazarian. His family posted on Facebook that he had recently visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida before testing positive for the virus on March 13. An additional 40 cases were reported in L.A. County on Thursday, bringing the total count to 230. Seven labs are serving L.A. County and are testing lab specimens at multiple sites, Ferrer said. She added that testing capacity is increasing, but is still “limited.” As of Wednesday, officials L.A. County tested nearly 1,700 people, and about 13% of people who are tested are positive for COVID-19,…

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