The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), which is in charge of monitoring the air pollution and regulating activities that affect air quality, announced on Sunday that the usual restrictions are being lifted for 10 days, until January 27.
Los Angeles County currently sees one person die of COVID-19 every eight minutes, and death rates have more than doubled – pushing funeral homes and crematoriums to their limits.
As of January 15, more than 2,700 bodies were stored at both hospitals and the coroner’s office, the AQMD said.
National Guard members are seen moving bodies into temporary storage on January 12 in LA
Rows of refrigerated morgue containers are seen behind a tarp outside the coroner’s office
‘The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed that the growing backlog of cremation cases within the county constitutes a threat to public health,’ wrote Wayne Nastri, executive officer for the AQMD, in his order.
He said that the 28 crematories in Los Angeles County ‘have the resources and capability to perform more cremations,’ but were prevented from doing so due to ‘regulatory limits.’
Nastri said that his order was issued with the expectation that the situation would deteriorate, and the death toll would spike following the New Year festivities.
He wrote that the coroner ‘anticipates that another surge is approaching as a result of the New Year’s holiday, since deaths tend to occur 4-6 weeks after gatherings.’
On Saturday Los Angeles became the first county in the nation to record one million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
Dr Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, said that their health system was ‘severely strained’.
‘Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths – five-times what we experienced over the summer,’ she said.
A healthcare worker tends to a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit in Mission Viejo on January 8
Health care workers use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine in Apple Valley
Mobile mortuaries have been set up outside hospitals to cope with the surge in deaths.
On Saturday she confirmed that the mutant U.K. strain had been found in L.A. County, which is significantly more infectious. The arrival of the new strain has given rise to fears that the caseload will sharply increase, as it did in London.
The virus is surging across California, where daily deaths are averaging 528, an increase of over 15 per cent from a week ago.
Much of the state, including the southern region, remains under a stay-at-home order.
Los Angeles County health officials reported on Sunday more than 13,800 people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic begun, and more than 7,400 remain hospitalized with the virus – 23 per cent of whom are in the ICU.
Late last week, County health officials said in a news release that both healthcare workers and ICU capacity remain ‘strained.’
‘The most important action for everyone to take to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives is to stay home and not mingle with others not in your household,’ the release said.
Source: Daily Mail |World News