This morning, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA County Supervisors declared a state of emergency for the city of Los Angeles and greater LA County, due to the spread of coronavirus. So far, California has 50 recorded cases, and the first coronavirus death was confirmed this morning. Elected officials and experts at the LA Department of Public Health are urging residents to keep calm and stay clean. However that’s not a simple request for the city’s homeless residents. There are roughly 60,000 people in Los Angeles County experiencing homelessness, 75% of them lack permanent shelter.
Addressing the health needs of LA’s homeless residents has long been an issue and there are no overnight solutions in the wake of the coronavirus, but with a state of emergency the county will have the resources to be more proactive in addressing the overall health needs of homeless people.
“We knew that today was probably coming, but LA county has been prepared,” said District 1 Supervisor Hilda Solis. “These two declarations of emergency will allow us to draw resources from both the state and federal government…There’s been too much misinformation spreading around and as we expected it’s cultivating fears and leading to ethnic profiling,” Solis continued.
As city officials and businesses make preparations for the possibility of new coronavirus cases, homeless shelter employees are being trained to recognize the symptoms of coronavirus. Public health officials are reminding residents the most important things they can do right now are stay informed and continue to practice proper flu prevention hygiene. Here are five things you should know about coronavirus, from the Center for Disease Control.