Los Angeles City Council members Mitch O’Farrell and Monica Rodriguez presented a motion Wednesday to direct the city to install sanitation stations at homeless encampments in an effort to protect residents against the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The action is intended to protect approximately 36,000 unhoused individuals from the disease, O’Farrell said.
“While the coronavirus is mainly affecting travel and tourism, it is imperative we have a lens focused on (its) potential to imperil those experiencing homelessness,” O’Farrell said. “I want to ensure we have the necessary hygiene stations and resources available from our local and federal partners to address this rapidly moving urgent public health crisis.”
Earlier Thursday, the city and county declared a local state of emergency to speed up the process to receive state and federal resources to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also noted as COVID-19.
A short time after that, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California, hours after officials in Placer County announced the first coronavirus death in the state.
Seven cases have been reported in Los Angeles County.
“Given the conditions on our streets, we must take precautions and provide resources to our most vulnerable communities,” Rodriguez said. “All Angelenos, regardless of their housing status, require access to hygiene resources to prevent any further spread of the virus. This is critical to the public health and safety of our community.”
City agencies are working closely with the county, state and federal partners to monitor the situation, Rodriguez said. City officials are working to ensure safety at the Port of Los Angeles, LAX and public spaces. They’re also working to protect first responders and provide clear information in response to the coronavirus, she said.
More information and updates on the coronavirus outbreak can be found at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.