Los Angeles County’s top public health official, said stay-at-home orders could remain in place through July, signalling months more of coronavirus restrictions across one of the country’s largest population centres.
During a county board meeting, Ferrer said the lockdown orders will be extended unless health officials see a “dramatic change in this virus or in the tools.”
However, officials will gradually ease restrictions during that period, according to the local Fox News affiliate.
Los Angeles County, home to more than 10 million people, has not formally extended the stay-at-home order.
If extended, the stay-at-home order would be the longest order for a major population centre in the U.S.
Los Angeles County decision does not include the city of Los Angeles, but the two authorities have been largely coordinating their public health response.
Mayor Eric Garcetti sought to temper the reaction to Ferrer’s statements.
Speaking on CNN Garcetti said that while a public health order will remain in place, officials may “continuously edit that order” to ease restrictions.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the county – home to more than 10 million people – with more than 32,000 confirmed infections and 1,569 deaths.
Ferrer’s statements come as many states, including California, are moving forward with reopening their economies, although at different speeds.
Protests have been taking place around the country against stay-at-home orders, which public health experts say are essential to blunting the coronavirus outbreak.
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, warned on Tuesday that there will likely be “really serious” consequences, including unnecessary deaths, if the U.S. moves too quickly to reopen the economy.
“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control,” he said.