Los Angeles County health officials announced 18 more deaths due to the coronavirus and 484 newly confirmed cases Sunday, bringing the county's totals to 1,530 deaths and 31,677 cases.
"Each day, we report these numbers knowing that there are people who are grieving their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. To all of you, we are so deeply sorry for your loss,'' said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director. "As we begin our recovery journey, we are grateful for all you have done to get us to this point. More than ever, we all need to continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and to, most importantly, save lives."
The latest numbers came as county residents celebrated Mother's Day with many restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus still in place, as others are slowly lifted. Hiking trails and parks were reopened Saturday, one day after the county allowed select retail businesses to reopen with curbside service.
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Officials warned in easing some restrictions that the pandemic is far from over.
"If you are out and about this weekend, please take every precaution since anyone of us, even if we are not sick, could be infected with COVID-19 and capable of infecting others,'' Ferrer said. ``When outside your home, always stay six feet away from everyone and wear a cloth face covering securely over your nose and mouth if there are others near you. These actions are critically important as we begin the journey of recovery so that we don't find ourselves with large increases in hospitalizations and deaths that would require us to reinstitute restrictions."
All county beaches remain closed, and an exception to the reopening of trails is the popular Runyon Canyon trail, which remains closed because it attracts crowds that are too large, officials said.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said staff were deployed to ensure people are adhering to social-distancing requirements, and all hikers over age 2 will be required to wear face coverings.
"They're (the sheriff's Parks Bureau) not doing anything out of the ordinary," Deputy James Nagao of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Information Bureau told City News Service on Saturday. "The Parks Bureau is consistently patrolling Los Angeles County parks in an effort to make sure people are enjoying the park experience."
County parks officials urged residents not to visit trails if they are sick or exhibiting any sign of illness. People who do hike on the trails should do so only with members of their household, and hikers should bring water, hand-sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes, park officials said.
"There is no new enforcement initiative, specifically," Chan said. "Any sort of enforcement will be the last result. There is no new rule of engagement, as these parks are being phased into operation, concretely."
City and county golf courses also reopened with restrictions, but pro shops remain closed and golf course restaurants are restricted to carry-out service only.
County parks were originally expected to be closed for Mother's Day, but they remained open, although large gatherings were prohibited.
"Since the holiday is one of the busiest days of the year, LA County Parks reminds all park guests that social distancing is required and group gatherings are prohibited by the health order," according to the department.
Planning is continuing for a possible reopening of beaches by late
next week. Long Beach will reopen its beach walking/bike paths Monday, although the beaches themselves will remain closed.