LA health official talks coronavirus impact in community while fighting back tears

A top health official in Los Angeles, Calif., fought back tears when speaking of the impact the novel coronavirus has had on the community. 

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County’s public health director, during a Wednesday news conference held back tears as she discussed the high number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in L.A. 

“Over 8,000 people who were beloved members of their families are not coming back,” she said while appearing to hold back emotion. “And their deaths are an incalculable loss to their friends and their family, as well as our community.”

As of Tuesday, the day referenced by Ferrer during the news conference, L.A. had reported some 8,075 death since the start of the pandemic. She added that there were an estimated 9,243 new cases, while some 3,299 patients are currently hospitalized due to the virus. 


“There is a great deal of community transmission, and you are at risk of becoming affected when you’re out of your home and you’re around other people,” added Ferrer, imploring residents to be “extremely careful and diligent” ahead of the holiday season. 

L.A. County officials in late November issued a new safer-at-home order amid the surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Under the new order, which is slated to be in place until at least Dec. 20, residents are being asked to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear a face-covering when outside. 


Public and private gatherings with anyone outside one’s household are prohibited. Religious services and protests are exempted. Occupancy limits for retail businesses will be capped at 35%, malls at 20%, and 50% for fitness centers.

“With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our health care system,” Ferrer said when the order was announced. 

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 

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