The director of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin

Tuesday, March 24. The director of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin reviewed the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we practice social distancing, new mental challenges have surfaced. Dr. Sherin disclosed the resources available for all L.A. County residents, as well as the available aid throughout the region. The Public Health department also shared updates on the L.A. COVID-19 cases and over all status of the outbreak. In addition to that, on Monday, March 23. Los Angeles public officials provided updates on plans for public safety, they ensured protocols for around the clock medical services.

Dr. Sherin examined the mental strain due to the radical change in daily habits, as we respond to COVID-19. He stated, “In particular with change, comes the unknown…” The mental health director continued by highlighting the anxiety level rising in children and those facing disability.  He addressed that the impact of the Corona Virus is affecting everyone in all levels. That increase in mental strain, has triggered the county’s efforts to assist in mental needs. Dr. Jonathan Sherin expressed the importance of having a sense of daily operation and sticking with a healthy routine. He shared to stay away from unhealthy practices such as excess alcohol consumption to numb your anxiety. Dr. Sherin stated with precaution, “For those in need of immediate help, it is very important that you reach out and share your feelings with someone you trust…” He protested to stay connected, social distancing does not mean isolation. The contact information to speak to a mental health professional is 800.854.7771, they are available to accept calls and provide information around the clock.

The L.A. County city officials announced on Monday, March 23. That there are new contracts with private and public labs that will significantly increase the amount of testing available for COVID-19. During the first phase, Emergency responders and those at high risk will be tested for the severe respiratory syndrome, in addition to the first round of public patients hospitalized. Soon, the medical centers will have the capacity to test 500 patients each day.  L.A. county officials are finding private and public labs that can produce more COVID-19 tests. Unfortunately, testing is still priority based. One will only be tested if they have severe symptoms or they have been around someone who has already tested positive.

The 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles, Alex Villanueva shared updates about his department. He disclosed how the law enforcement team will be active in the community during the outbreak of COVID-19. He ensured that the L.A. County Sheriff department is prepared.  Sheriff Villanueva is the director of emergency operations for the county of Los Angeles. He is working collaboratively with other public officials in wake of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The L.A. Sheriff has activated public safety protocols to manage the Corona Virus outbreak. These protocols are aligned with The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the California Standardized Emergency Management System.  The Incident Command System Structure, known as the I.C.S. has also been activated. The Sheriff of Los Angeles reported that the LASD has dropped off a quarter of a million N-95 masks to the medical supply hub for distribution to all hospitals. Villanueva concluded that if needed, the National Guard will be assisting in “Humanitarian” roles, such as helping at food banks and transportation.

Director of Public Health, Barbara Ferrer shared the latest updates surrounding the COVID-19 virus. As of Monday, March 23. Over 5,700 people have been tested for the Corona Virus, and 10% tested positive for carrying COVID-19.  New levels of increase revealed on Tuesday March 24. Ferrer shared that there were four additional deaths, including one that was reported by the Long beach health department Monday. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in the L.A. County to 11. One of the deaths being under the age of 18. Barbara disclosed that as of March 24. there are 128 new cases, bringing the total amount of cases in the L.A. County to 662. Over the last 48 hours, there has been 256 new reports.  These incidents are made of 21 cases reported in Long Beach and 6 cases coming from Pasadena. The public health director shared COVID-19 data, reporting that 42% of positive carriers are between the ages of 18-40, 39% of positive cases are between the ages of 41-65, and 18% of the positive cases have been hospitalized at some point. You can check an updated status report of LA County cases every afternoon on the public health website,