LA County announces new openings of beach bike paths, indoor mall curbside service

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 23: A man bikes on a bike path as people gather on Huntington Beach, which remains open amid the coronavirus pandemic, on April 23, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. Neighboring beaches in Los Angeles County r

Los Angeles County announced Friday that beach bike paths would be allowed to reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend and retailers located inside indoor shopping malls can now reopen for curbside service.

Customers will not be permitted inside malls, but interior retailers can accept orders and deliver merchandise to customers at a curbside location outside the mall. However, stores are required to be in compliance with the regulations the county provided online prior to reopening.

The county is also reopening beach parking lots at Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach, all with partial capacity. Santa Monica lots remain closed, as do most public beach lots in coastal communities. Allowable recreation activities now include swimming, surfing, running, walking, skating, and biking. 

Residents are still required to wear face coverings on beaches and must maintain six feet of social distancing between themselves and others. The county recommends beachgoers review the rules and regulations listed online prior to heading to the beach. Sunbathing and beach gatherings remain prohibited.

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Additionally, county officials announced that car parades are now allowed so that graduations, birthdays and other special days and achievements can be safely celebrated. Car parades can not include participants on a bicycle, a motorcycle, a convertible with the top open, or a vehicle with no doors such as a golf cart. If any of the windows on a vehicle is open, the occupants of the vehicle must wear a face covering.

“As more businesses and spaces are open, as individuals and institutions, we can take care of each other by continuing to practice physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, and following all of the directives for safer practices at businesses and in public spaces," said County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer. "We can do this, because we’ve done it. We have worked together doing our part to save lives.”

County officials Friday reported 1,072 new coronavirus cases and 35 additional deaths, bringing the totals to 43,052 cases and 2,049 deaths.

Of the newly reported deaths, 25 were individuals over the age of 65, 20 of which had underlying health conditions. Five individuals were between the ages of 41 and 65, three of which had underlying health conditions. The data on the remaining deaths was not immediately available.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department lists the race and ethnicity data associated with COVID-19 deaths on its website.

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Approximately 93% of all county residents who died from the virus had underlying health conditions. County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said this emphasizes the county's need to protect those with underlying health conditions and urges those residents to stay at home as much as possible.

She said this includes, but is not limited to, individuals with asthma, those who have had cancer, anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and anyone who is immune-compromised.

"If you're part of one of these groups, you need to take every precaution imaginable to protect yourself from COVID-19," said Ferrer.

According to Public Health, 6,093 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 at some point required hospitalization during their battle with the illness. There are 1,506 individuals currently hospitalized in the county with the virus, Ferrer said.

Testing capacity continues to increase in LA County, with testing results available for over 412,000 individuals and 9% of those people testing positive.

While LA County officials have not released data on the number of COVID-19 patients that have recovered from the virus within the county, John's Hopkins University reports that more than 298,000 patients have recovered nationwide.

RELATED: LA County aims for July 4 reopening date, some leaders say only if data supports it

On Tuesday, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger expressed that they are aiming for a "safe reopening" of the county as early as July 4, but other county leaders stressed that the date was just a goal, saying the numbers and data would need to support it.

On Monday, Ferrer announced that four children in the county who have been diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition also tested positive for COVID-19, and several other suspected cases have also been identified.

RELATED: 4 children in LA County diagnosed with rare inflammatory condition linked with COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the condition multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. Most affected children have had current or recent coronavirus infections.

County health officials say they are working with hospitals to identify any additional cases.

Last week, the county announced a new "Safer-at-Home" health officer order, that replaced the initial order, which expired last Friday.

"While the Safer at Home orders will remain in place over the next few months, restrictions will be gradually relaxed under our 5-stage Roadmap to Recovery, while making sure we are keeping our communities as safe as possible during this pandemic," said Ferrer.

While the new order has no definitive end date, it does allow a few additional businesses and outdoor recreational areas to reopen with restrictions. The county also reopened its beaches for active-use, but residents are required to wear masks unless they are in the water. 

Under the new order, all county residents are required to wear face coverings when they are around other people, including any time they enter an essential business or interact with employees for curbside pickup. Face coverings are also required to be worn at all times on county-operated hiking trails.

Public Health said that based on new guidance from the CDC, they are now requiring anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days and 72 hours after fever and symptoms subside. 

"New evidence suggests it may take longer for the virus to shed, which means that an infected person may be able to infect other people for a longer period of time than was initially thought," Public Health wrote in a news release. "This means you must stay home until your fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications and there is improvement in your respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) for at least three days (72 hours) after recovery, AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared or you were tested."

Public Health continues to stress to the public that while a majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions, not everyone does. Residents are urged to continue to take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from the virus.

Health officials say that social distancing remains our best defense against the virus, and all residents are instructed to abide by current measures in place across the state. Social distancing is not only about preventing the illness itself, but rather, slowing the rate at which people get sick. 

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information 

On April 3, the CDC announced that it would be recommending people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The use of face coverings is believed to help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, without knowing it, from transmitting it to others.

The face coverings can be made at home from common materials at low cost, and the CDC has instructions on how to make them listed on its website

RELATED: Face coverings required at L.A. County businesses

This comes as more evidence is emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. In early April, the CDC changed how it was defining risk of infection for Americans, saying anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.

RELATED: Asymptomatic coronavirus cases appear to be on the rise in China, report says

In accordance with new guidelines from the CDC, Public Health said that anyone who begins to experience symptoms must contact those they were in contact with up to 48 hours prior to having symptoms in order for them to self-isolate.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a new loss of taste or smell. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

Click here for a list of locations of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.