City Councilman Herb Wesson introduced a motion Friday calling for the city to create public education campaigns online, on television and through telephone hotlines or other media to provide information about the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
“There are many local communities, including those which are not English-speaking, which are left in the dark about this disease with no credible place to which to turn for answers,” Wesson wrote in his motion. “Just recently, news of an airline attendant having landed at LAX from a country where the coronavirus has spread greatly has created wide speculation and alarm that the virus is now being spread locally unchecked.”
The councilman’s motion called for the city’s Emergency Management Department and Fire Department to develop the campaigns.
The council’s Public Safety Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the local effects of COVID-19, and city officials said although there’s no reason to panic in Los Angeles, they are prepared in the event the virus does start spreading faster.
Councilman David Ryu said during that meeting he was concerned about the virus causing discrimination against select groups of people.
“I wanted to make sure that we provide the proper information because there are some xenophobia (incidents) happening,” Ryu said. “I know (health officials) said they’re only testing people from mainland China, but as we know, we have cases confirmed all throughout the world, so we want to make sure that this is not an opportunity for people to have hysteria, because we have professionals working on this.”
So far, only one case of COVID-19 has been detected in Los Angeles County, and that patient has since been treated and released, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.
The motion from Wesson will be placed on the next published City Council agenda, which could be as early as Tuesday.