March 26, 2020 

By Betti Halsell 

Contributing Writer 


Wednesday, March 25. Los Angeles Board of Supervisors partnered with Interim Executive Director of the L.A. Homeless Authority Services; to discuss prevention and preparation for the unsheltered population in Los Angeles. Director of public health, Barbara Ferrer disclosed latest data on the COVID-19 outbreak in the Los Angeles region. The L.A. health services outlined their role in the COVID-19 infecting over 700 Los Angeles residents.


The homeless are among the highest at risk to contract the COVID-19 virus. As of March 25. L.A.  has not seen any reported cases among people who are unsheltered. The Los Angeles County officials are making it a priority to prepare and show concern for the homeless community. It is of vital importance that L.A. Officials act on behalf of those that are most vulnerable. The Office of Emergency Management has entrusted the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) to lead projects meeting the housing and medical needs for those experiencing misplacement and unfortunate times. LAHSA is the lead agency that will partner with The Office of Emergency Management to fulfill multiple homeless shelters request of 14,000 cot covers, 18,000 blankets, and 98,000 towels. 


There are plans to have additional medical sheltering sites that will provide transportation, food, laundry services, and security services.  Chairwoman of the L.A. Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger shared that the goal for the Los Angeles County is to secure 2,000 beds; for quarantine and isolation for individuals that have tested positive or for those suspected to being positive for SARS-CoV-2. The Department of Mental Health is allocating staff to new homeless shelters that are becoming active in the city of Los Angeles. Philanthropic partners that are working closely to assist with preparation include, United Way and the California Community Foundation.


Outreach teams are connecting daily with unsheltered individuals to offer available services. Members of the Outreach program are trained to pay special attention to those most susceptible to contracting the Corona Virus; among those experiencing homelessness, which is the prime age of 65 or those with preexisting medical conditions. L.A. county continues to scan the city for potential property that can serve as interim housing facilities. There’s a focus on probation camps, 1st District Supervisor, Hilda Solis confirmed that there is mindful intent on caring for inmates, juvenile facilities, and those in probation camps. Solis will be introducing a motion to “reduce any crowding” and increase to access social distancing within correctional facilities.


Heidi Marston, Interim Executive Director of the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority confirmed the LAHSA team is “working around the clock to ensure the safety of all the individuals experiencing homelessness.” The primary focus for LAHSA is expansion in immediate housing and shelter solutions. In collaboration with the city and the county of Los Angeles, LAHSA set up eight sites, activating over 300 available shelter beds in the city of Los Angeles. There is a goal of 42 additional sites to become active. Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority is also drawing focus to quarantine areas for those experiencing severe symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.


The overview of the medical center availability was provided by Christina Ghaly, Director of the L.A. Health Services. The Health Service Department provide direct care through a plethora of medical locations across the Los Angeles region. There are four public hospitals under the L.A. Health Services that are located county wide. The department accommodates 25 stand-alone health clinics that administer services to those in need of care. The L.A. Health department also assist with the well-being of inmates that are being held in the L.A. County correctional facilities. This department plays a key role as part of the Emergency Management system, they distribute medical supplies to public and private hospitals, and provide pre-hospital care for both public and private medical centers across the county.


Director of Public Health, Barbara Ferrer disclosed the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 25. There’s been 3 additional deaths, all three individuals were over the age of 65 and had preexisting medical conditions. That brings the total amount that passed away due to Corona Virus to 13, in Los Angeles County. As of Wednesday, March 25 there has been 138 new cases, and over the last 48 hours, there has been 266 new COVID-19 reports. In summary, there are 799 cases reported in the L.A. County. 28 incidents were reported in the city of Long Beach and 7 cases in the city of Pasadena. The statistics show that 80% of positive carriers are between the age of 18-65. 40% of positive cases occur among younger people, between the ages of 18-40. Ferrer stated that 20% of the positive cases have been hospitalized at some point. 1% of those affected with Corona Virus have passed away, which was noted to be a higher death rate for cases of influenza. Stay informed by checking the LA County website: 

Category: Health