As the deadly COVID-19 outbreak threatens to sweep through the huge homeless population in L.A., Mayor Garcetti said that they are working hard on expanding its capacity to bring in more people indoors as the Los Angeles Convention Center was turned into a field hospital.
Another 5 emergency shelters were built at Los Angeles City Parks recreation centers to take in more people, Garcetti said at a Sunday news conference. Los Angeles now has 13 of the temporary shelters open.
He said that the city is also getting over 500 camper trailers from Governor Newsom. The first 25 are set to arrive in L.A. on Sunday. These trailers will be parked next to the shelters. Those who start to show symptoms will be brought to these trailers so they can self-quarantine.
Los Angeles also secured more than 900 hotel and motel rooms that will be used to quarantine and isolate individuals believed to have been exposed to COVID-19, or those awaiting their test results.
Garcetti urged motels and hotel owners in the city to volunteer their properties for those people who need to quarantine. If they are picked as lodging for L.A.’s homeless people, they will be paid.
During his last COVID-19 briefing last Friday, he announced what is believed to be the first coronavirus case in Los Angeles’ homeless population. He said that the individual had been staying at Dockweiler Beach. This is where campers have been arranged to quarantine people. Eventually, the patient was taken elsewhere for isolation and medical care, after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The homeless are more likely to experience underlying health problems and have a more difficult time taking all the recommended precautions to protect themselves from the illness, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health, has said. This makes them more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and if infected, more likely catch worse symptoms.
Last year, there were 58,936 homeless individuals living in L.A. County, including 36,300 in Los Angeles alone.
On Sunday, Garcetti said 4,000 of the L.A.s homeless are vulnerable. This includes people who are 65 years or older, and have existing medical problems. They were already taken to shelters two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, members of the Army National Guard members were busy helping pack the Los Angeles Convention Center with supplies to help convert it into a federal medical station.
As coronavirus cases increase, it’s estimated that almost 2,600 homeless individuals in the L.A. area alone would need COVID-19 hospitalization. 900 of them may require treatment in intensive care units, as per research done by many universities.