Curfew Imposed as County COVID Numbers Surge

Novel coronavirus testing at Malibu City Hall on Saturday, April 11

With only 135 cases recorded since April, Malibu’s COVID-19 stats have remained fairly low as the pandemic has drawn on—but numbers are beginning to rise everywhere, and that includes here. 

Twelve of those 135 Malibu cases have occurred in the last 14 days. 

Saddlerock Ranch, which was cited by LA County Health Department officials for a health violation on Oct. 31, was cited a second time a week later on Saturday, Nov. 7. Saddlerock representatives did not comment on why they were cited. 

So far in Malibu, one community gathering place received a health citation, two residential rehab facilities had cases reported and one restaurant reported a small outbreak that did not spread to guests. None of those resulted in wider spread or any deaths.

Los Angeles County’s adjusted case rate nearly doubled in the second week of November, going from 7.6 new cases per 100,000 residents last week to 13.7 new cases per 100,000 residents this week. The county instituted a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. business curfew for restaurants, breweries, bars, wineries and nonessential retail establishments and limits on outdoor gatherings to just three households with a maximum of 15 people. Indoor gatherings are still prohibited. 

According to the LA Times, even more extreme measures, such as limiting restaurants to pick-up orders, a return to the “safer at home” order that would only allow essential workers to leave their homes or a countywide curfew, could be taken in the coming weeks if the surge does not slow.

“Lives and livelihoods are at stake, and our entire community will be affected by our collective action if we do the right thing,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti described the situation as “a different kind of moment; a new level of danger.” 

“If we don’t make these decisions now, there really is only one outcome: We will almost certainly have to shut things down again. And more people will get sick and die,” he said. He encouraged everyone but essential workers to stay home as much as possible in the next few weeks. 

Ferrer also warned that getting a COVID test in order to have a non-socially distanced gathering gives “a false sense of security.” A negative COVID test from, for example, Thursday, taken in the hopes of getting a negative result by an event on Saturday, only shows that the person was negative a few days ago. It indicates no such safety about the days in between.

Weekly coronavirus infections across California are now nearly 150 percent worse than they were a month ago, according to an LA Times analysis, rising from about 22,600 to 56,000 for the seven-day period that ended Sunday.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint coronavirus travel advisory on Friday, Nov. 13, urging people arriving to their states to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

This tightening of restrictions comes with a bright spot, however: two separate companies, Pfizer and Moderna, announced that their respective vaccines had performed well in preliminary trials, cheering Americans and boosting the stock market. But there are still months to go before those vaccines would be widely available to the public.