Demonstrators Return To Los Angeles County Public Health Director’s Home To Protest COVID-19 Restrictions

Dozens of protesters returned to the home of Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Friday night after the department she leads confirmed the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations recorded in a single day since the pandemic began.

It was the second time in the past week that people dissatisfied with Ferrer’s response to the recent surge in coronavirus infections had gathered outside her residence in the Echo Park district in L.A.

According to reports from the scene, “some neighbors provided a soundtrack using the theme from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’” as protesters chanted, “Open Up L.A.,” and “Barbara is a tyrant.” Police officers showed up, and there were reportedly a few minor altercations involving demonstrators, a neighbor, and an individual who refused to identify himself. Several protesters expressed support for President Donald J. Trump and others carried American flags.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, L.A. Public Health has faced harsh criticism from some local politicians, business owners, and many of the more than ten million people who live in the nation’s most populous county directly affected by Ferrer’s public health orders.

Dr. Ferrer is often mocked for not having a medical degree.

When pressed by the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors, public health officials were unable to provide evidence to justify an ongoing ban on outdoor dining at restaurants. Still, the body voted 3-2 to move forward with the directive, which took effect on November 25. An L.A. Superior Court judge instructed attorneys representing L.A. Public Health to bring forth scientific proof that would support implementing the restriction at an upcoming hearing next week.

Elected leaders from several cities in L.A. County recently began publicly discussing breaking away from the health department, saying local data should determine local COVID-19 restrictions. Many have accused the agency of having a “one-size fits all” strategy for diverse communities spread over a vast territory. On Thursday, city councilmembers in Lancaster unanimously approved a symbolic “vote of no confidence” in Ferrer. They decided to eventually form a new independent health department they say would better serve the city.

On Friday, county health authorities announced 8,860 new cases and 2,668 hospitalizations. 24% of those admitted are in the intensive-care unit. According to the L.A. Times, L.A. County could soon fall under even more stringent statewide rules as early as Sunday if a shortage of ICU beds persists. The Times reported 56 deaths, the highest single-day tally since August 19.

According to L.A. Public Health, the state order would closely mirror the county’s current order, “but is more restrictive in certain areas.” It would apply to a region designated as “Southern California,” prohibiting most multi-household gatherings, closing some sector operations such as personal grooming services, and limiting retail occupancy to 20%.  According to the department, “counties may be more restrictive than State mandates, but not less restrictive.”

Ferrer urged people to comply with state and county guidelines.

“To the families mourning a loved one lost to COVID-19, we sent you our deepest condolences,” she said on Friday. “Los Angeles County continues to experience a pandemic that is moving in a direction that will cause significantly more suffering and deaths. As case numbers and hospitalizations continue to rapidly increase, the number of individuals who will experience severe health outcomes will also increase. The best thing to do right now and in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel. Encourage your family and friends to stay connected virtually and delay meeting in person until we are at a better place in the pandemic. Collectively, we have a chance to slow the spread and save lives.”

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