LOS ANGELES (CNS) — More than 70 citations have been issued over the past month to various businesses and organizations — most notably churches and gyms — for violating health restrictions imposed to control spread of COVID- 19, but Los Angeles County’s health officer said Thursday no closures have been ordered.
Dr. Muntu Davis said, however, that failures to adhere to the restrictions, particularly those barring many indoor business operations and worship services, can exacerbate virus spread.
“Not just for us in terms of public health but others who are watching and monitoring the spread of this virus and trying to do everything we can to control it, it is concerning when we don’t have compliance with the measures that are needed in order to slow the spread of this within our county,” Davis said in an online media briefing.
“As we go through, we continue to look at all options that might be available to us,” he said. “Of course, I can’t go into a lot of details on each case, but (we) continue to try to build what we need to in terms of getting compliance from everyone. This is really what’s needed at this point. Everybody has to do what they need to do in order to slow it down.
“And at some point, you know, this may be a thing of the past, but until we get to that point, we really do need everyone’s cooperation and assistance.”
According to figures posted on the county Department of Public Health website, 71 citations were issued “due to lack of compliance with Health Officer Orders” between Aug. 29 and Sunday.
Antelope Valley establishments cited include Crunch Fitness in Lancaster on Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, Sheperd Church Agua Dulce on Aug. 30, Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, Iglesis Del Dios Vivo in Lancaster on Aug. 30, and Lancaster Baptist Church on Sept. 20.
Several businesses were cited multiple times over that period, including a Coast Fitness facility in Hawthorne, which was cited at least four times; various locations of Crunch Fitness, also including those in Cerritos and La Mirada; and Powerhouse Gym in Torrance that was cited at least five times.
Multiple churches are also on the list, including Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, which the county took to court and obtained an injunction to bar the facility from holding indoor worship services. According to the county, the church has been cited three times since the court order was issued on Sept. 10.
Davis declined to give any specifics on other punitive actions the county might pursue against repeat violators of the health orders, but he confirmed that “to date, none of them have been issued a closure order.”
But at a crucial time when health officials are fearing a post-Labor Day surge in cases — possibly evidenced by a recent rise in daily Coronavirus case numbers and an increase in the overall transmission rate — Davis said infection-control measures are crucial for businesses and residents.
The county announced 1,165 new cases Thursday, while Long Beach added 43 and Pasadena reported eight, lifting the countywide cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 264,465.
Another 39 Coronavirus-related deaths were announced Thursday, although two of those fatalities were announced Wednesday afternoon by Long Beach health officials. Long Beach reported another three deaths Thursday. The new fatalities lifted the cumulative countywide death toll to 6,458.
A total of 753 people were hospitalized due to the virus as of Thursday — down slightly from Wednesday and sharply below the average of 2,200 patients that were reported in the weeks following the Fourth of July holiday.
As of Thursday, the following areas reported COVID-19 cases and deaths:
• Palmdale: 4,059 cases and 70 deaths.
• Lancaster: 3,270 cases and 55 deaths.
• Lake Los Angeles: 228 cases and four deaths.
• Quartz Hill: 175 cases and 11 deaths.
• Sun Village: 163 cases and two deaths.
• Littlerock/Pearblossom: 92 cases and no deaths.
• Littlerock: 85 cases and one death.
• Acton: 70 cases and two deaths.
• Agua Dulce: 27 cases and no deaths.
• Pearblossom/Llano: 24 cases and one death.
• Leona Valley: 18 cases and no deaths.
• Littlerock/Juniper Hills: Nine cases and no deaths.
• Llano: Three cases and no deaths.