Both the state of California and LA County have released policies that have and will dramatically change our lifestyles for the foreseeable future. Visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ to learn about the LA County policy or cdph.gov for the state
Why was this done?
We are seeing an upswing in the reported cases of COVID-19 infections based on the testing that is now becoming available. This testing is both catching up to the backlog of untested but infected individuals as well as newly infected individuals. It underestimates the total number of infected individuals in the state and county due to limitations on testing and the lack of surveillance testing (testing of asymptomatic individuals). It is estimated that it may take a month or two to actually know the percent of the population that is infected which will be dependent on the testing availability and the accuracy of the testing.
Why is it safer at home?
You can control your home environment. The more contact is avoided with other individuals the less likely that a person to person transmission will occur. Also an infected individual who may not be symptomatic if at home only risks infecting those others in residence as opposed to unwittingly spreading COVID-19 to chance encounters outside of the home. It is easier to enforce social distancing at home, wash hands and surfaces at home, remove shoes upon entry into residences, consider having out of residence clothing and in residence clothing and change appropriately upon entering and leaving one’s residence.
For those of you who are traveling between more than one residence pick one and stay there. The current policy allows for that.
Can I go outside of my home?
Of course. In fact, that is encouraged for mental health. Just maintain social distance while outside, wash hands and change shoes and clothes upon entry and exit……. The LA County link above and the associated website lists all of the businesses and services that are considered essential and which will remain available for you as resources.
How long is this likely to last?
To be honest we do not know. The Safer at Home policy is based on what is thought to be happening which is a dramatic increase in infected individuals and the resultant risk of infecting others over the next few weeks. Soon speculation will be replaced by facts and a more refined policy may follow.