L.A. County sees 421 new COVID-19 cases, Sheriff Villanueva is determined to shut down gun stores and harsh layoffs at Chateau Marmont.
L.A. County announced 421 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, putting the total number of confirmed cases at 1,216 — a near doubling in 48 hours. Nine more have died in the county, bringing the total of people who have lost their lives to this disease to 21. “If we don’t curtail that spread within a few weeks there could be a million people affected,” says Dr. Barbara Ferrer. “If 20% need some sort of hospital care, you can see why we need people helping to slow the spread. That would be 200,000 people who need to be hospitalized.” — Daily News
At the beginning of this week, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva began closing gun stores. On Tuesday, the department suspended those actions as officials determined whether the shops were essential businesses. Today he announced his department will return to closing gun stores in all unincorporated L.A. County and the 42 cities that the Sheriff’s Department provides with law enforcement services. — CBS Los Angeles
Unlike many other local hotels, when the Chateau Marmont chose to let their employees go, they fired nearly the entire staff, offered no severance or health insurance and did not commit to re-hiring those employees once the coronavirus pandemic ends. “In the middle of this pandemic, I’m now unemployed and will soon lose health insurance for my entire family,” Walter Almendarez, one of the employees fired, told the Local 11 union. “I’ve worked for the Chateau Marmont for nearly 23 years. It’s completely unjust for the hotel to fire me and my coworkers without anything to keep us on our feet.” — CBS Los Angeles
Health officials in L.A. County said its emergency supply of N95 masks is exhausted, encouraging doctors and nurses to consider reusing the disposable masks for multiple patients, a practice that is generally avoided because of the risk of spreading pathogens among patients and hospital rooms. — Washington Post
The USNS Mercy hospital ship which left San Diego on Monday will arrive at the Los Angeles World Cruise Terminal in San Pedro Friday morning. The ship contains 1,000 beds and 800 medical personnel. But L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino says it isn’t enough. “The Mercy alone is not going to cut it,” he says. “We’re going to need 17 more Mercy ships” up and down the California coastline. — Daily Breeze
Testing one, two, three. Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor John Cruikshank developed coronavirus symptoms including “the worst headache you would ever imagine” and hallucinations after attending a birthday party at the Trump National Golf Club earlier in March.
Two others at the party tested positive for COVID-19, but the mayor said he had no contact with them.
“There was a microphone that the doctor who ended up testing positive spoke into right before I did,” he says. “After he handled that microphone, I handled that microphone and I think that’s where I got it.” — Daily Breeze
The “happiest place on Earth” will probably not reopen on April 1. Earlier, it was revealed that Universal Studios Hollywood will remain closed because of the coronavirus outbreak until April 19, three weeks longer than previously planned. Knott’s Berry Farm, meanwhile, has stated it hopes to open in mid-May. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia closed March 13 with plans to remain closed until the end of March. — L.A. Times
People are staying at home. Finally. Good. And thanks to that, crime is going down. The LAPD reported 14% fewer arrests in the first half of March compared to the same period in 2019, according to LAPD Public Information Director Josh Rubenstein. Burglary is down 16% year-to-date compared to 2019, while personal theft is down 15%. — CBS Los Angeles
Nursing schools are warning state officials that an estimated 10,000 nursing students are in jeopardy of not graduating, meaning they will be unable to help evaluate and treat patients amid the coronavirus pandemic. Under state rules, nursing students must spend a substantial part of their clinical education in hospitals, but they are barred from doing so now because of hospital lockdown orders. Unless the state loosens its rules, students set to graduate in the coming months will find it impossible to become a licensed nurse. — L.A. Times
Major League Baseball was scheduled to hold its Opening Day today, but like everything else, it has been put on pause. The best player in baseball, Mike Trout of the Angels, says he’s losing his mind cooped up in his Newport Beach home. “I’m going crazy,” Trout said Thursday in an interview broadcast by MLB Network. “I’m driving my wife crazy. [Pitcher] Michael Kohn is staying with me and I think my wife’s about to kick us both out of the house.” — L.A. Times