For a letter from First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé on COVID-19, click here.

COVID-19 — also known as Coronavirus — is a contagious virus that is part of a large family of coronaviruses that cause diseases of varying severities, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is also called a novel coronavirus because it is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

In general, transmission of coronaviruses is most likely while a person has symptoms and is spread through:

  • Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene with frequent hand washing and social distancing.

Latest Updates:

L.A. opens up COVID-19 vaccine appointments for everyone age 16 and up

Los Angeles has opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people age 16 and older.

On the city’s website for COVID-19 vaccine registration, operated by Carbon Health, there is now an option to book an appointment for people 16 and older at city-run vaccination sites.

People who are seeking shots at city-run vaccination sites must provide valid identification and be a resident of Los Angeles County. City-run sites are open from Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information:


California imposes “limited” curfew due to COVID-19 surge

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a mandatory overnight stay-at-home order that will be instituted throughout most of California to combat a surge in new coronavirus cases, a measure that comes just days after the governor enacted a dramatic rollback of reopening in much of the state.

The order issued by the California Department of Public Health will prohibit most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening road map — the purple tier. The restriction goes into place on Saturday and lasts through Dec. 21, though it could be extended.

Read more:


Los Angeles Remains in Tier 1 Reopening

  • Coronavirus outbreaks tied to gatherings and workplaces are preventing L.A. County from reopening further.
    • Los Angeles County public health officials said that an uptick in coronavirus cases linked to social gatherings and workplace outbreaks are largely keeping the area from moving out of the state’s most restrictive tier for reopening.
    • While officials remain hopeful the county will be able to progress in California’s reopening plan in the coming weeks, the area is still firmly in Tier 1, one of only 10 counties in the state still considered to have a widespread risk of community transmission.
    • Though the county’s positivity rate has dropped to below 4 percent, it has still been hindered by a high number of new COVID-19 cases driven largely by outbreaks by personal gatherings, according to LA County Department of Public Health (LADPH) Director Ferrer.  “The only way we get to Tier 2 is to really double down,” Ferrer said about the county’s goal to move to the next tier. “We’re going to have to get used to living our lives with a different set of rules.”
    • Worksite outbreaks where there are clusters of three or more cases have also contributed to the county’s slight uptick in cases, which began around the end of September. Such outbreaks come on the heels of a staggered reopening plan in which the county most recently allowed indoor shopping centers to resume operations last week.
  • Coronavirus transmission rate grows in L.A. County.
    • The novel coronavirus is spreading faster in Los Angeles County, with the rate of new cases expected to increase in the coming weeks, officials said.
    • Although most businesses have complied with COVID-19 safety protocols, Ferrer said the county has issued more than 130 citations, mostly to fitness centers and places of worship.
    • Large gatherings have also contributed greatly to infection increases, which is one reason that with Halloween less than three weeks away, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti asked residents to be creative in their celebrations and to avoid trick-or-treating.  “Door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended as it makes social distancing nearly impossible,” Garcetti said.
  • As holidays approach, California unveils new rules on family gatherings, social events.
    • With the holiday season approaching, California last week released new guidelines for socializing that prohibit gatherings among more than three households.
    • “We are entering into the holidays, but also we’re entering into the part of the year when things cool down and people are more likely to congregate … in settings that put their physical proximity and likelihood of transmitting disease at higher risk,” Governor Newsom said.  “Don’t be misled that this disease is any less deadly. Quite the contrary: it is as deadly as it’s ever been in the context of those that are high risk.”
    • Newsom has also warned about the upcoming flu season, which could create added challenges in battling the coronavirus, as well as the arrival of colder weather that may prompt people to spend more time indoors.
    • To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission, the state had previously banned all gatherings of any kind as well as any mingling of households.  DPH Director Ferrer said L.A. County would adopt the state guidelines while also acknowledging that they were a “slippery slope” and that private gatherings should occur sparingly.
  • The U.S. is facing a renewed wave of infection and hospitalization related to COVID-19.
    • After a month of warning signs, data now makes it clear: The third surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is underway. Outbreaks have been worsening in many states for more than a month, and new COVID-19 cases jumped more than 18 percent this past week. Though testing rose by 8 percent nationally, that’s not enough of an increase to explain the steep rise in cases. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations, which had previously been creeping upward slowly, jumped more than 14 percent from a week earlier.
    • This week’s spike in new cases was spread across the country, rather than being concentrated in a few states, as occurred in the Northeast in the spring, in the Sun Belt in early June, and in the Midwest over the past few weeks. Seventeen states posted peak new-case days in the past week, including nine of 12 states in the Midwest and six of 11 states in the West.
    • The surge in hospitalizations is  less abrupt than those earlier in the year, and much more geographically widespread. And this time, more states that experienced major outbreaks earlier in the year are seeing hospitalizations rise again.
    • While California is yet to experience this new surge, the rise in new cases and hospitalizations across much of the rest of the U.S. should serve as a significant warning sign for the state.


As of March 19th, Gov. Newsom has ordered Californians to stay at home except for leaving for essential needs. For more information, visit:

Here are the key parts of the “Safer at Home” order:

  • Angelenos are directed to stay in their residences and limit activity outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary for essential tasks — including to secure food and health care, safety and medical necessities, as well as to care for children, older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Many businesses — including malls, many shops, companies, and nonprofit organizations — must stop operations that require workers to be present in-person.
  • No public and private gatherings that would occur outside of a single home will be allowed.

There are exceptions to this order. Please see this Safer at Home FAQ for a list of the essential activities and businesses that will remain open and other important information.

The order will be in place through April 19, 2020 and is subject to extension.

For more information, visit:

DPSS: All benefits will continue uninterrupted

Information on Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Closures:

On Monday, March 23rd, LAUSD announced that schools would be closed until May 1st. During that time, school district leaders will assess the situation and give further information on how the schools will move forward closer to the date.

On March 19th, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announced the creation of a fund-raising effort to help students most in need who attend schools in Los Angeles Unified. Los Angeles Unified serves almost 700,000 students, 80% of whom are from families who live in poverty. The Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, the Ballmer Group and Richard Lovett, president of Creative Artists Agency, have each contributed $250,000 to start the effort. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the California Community Foundation for LA Students Most in Need at

Virtual Lesson Plans: Students will be provided with lesson plans from their teachers and/or free televised and digital educational classes. LAUSD has partnered with the below television stations on at-home learning. For more detailed information, click here.

  • Grades Pre-K–3: PBS SoCal (Channel 50.1) from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m, PBS SoCal KIDS (Channel 50.5) 24/7 Livestream (on streaming devices and PBS KIDS Video app, KLCS KIDS (Channel 58.2), KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., YouTube (Search “PBS KIDS”), Free PBS KIDS Video App.
  • Grades 4–8: KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Grades 9–12: KCET (Channel 28.1) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During closures, LAUSD is providing 60 “grab-and-go” food centers for families. For more information on grab-and-go food centers, visit:

Map of “Grab-and-Go” Food Centers:

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LAUSD has also provided a hotline to answer questions:

  • Families: 213-443-1300
  • School Leaders: 213-241-2000
  • Employees: 213-241-2700

You can also follow the Superintendent of the LAUSD on Twitter at @AustinLASchools.

For the official announcement from LAUSD, click here.

For more information on LAUSD’s school closures, click here.

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Other school districts throughout LA County are implementing similar services including Long Beach, Compton, and Pasadena.

Free Internet for Everyone:

Comcast will offer free Internet during COVID-19 crisis

  • Comcast will be making Xfinity Wi-Fi Network free nationwide, offering unlimited data for free, ending disconnections and late fees
  • These changes will help low income households remain connected to the Internet, which is particularly important as children learn remotely during school closures and families need access to health care resources

Certain families in L.A. County qualify for free internet services during the pandemic to accommodate online learning. To learn more information, click here.

Resources for ECE Professionals:

As early childhood educators (ECE) and parents work on how to respond to the novel coronavirus, ECE advocates, including First 5 LA, are supporting by developing up-to-date resources to reference. We have compiled a list here for our readers:

Information on Children & COVID-19:

There’s currently no evidence that shows that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. In fact, children may be less vulnerable to the virus and experience less-extreme symptoms than adults, according to NPR.

For more information on children and COVID-19, click here.

Information on Pregnant Women & COVID-19:

For frequently asked questions about Coronavirus and pregnant women, click here.

Resources for Individuals Financially Impacted by COVID-19:

If you have had your hours cuts, been furloughed or laid off:

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file for unemployment insurance. If you are expecting to return to your job after the dust settles, you do not have to be actively seeking new work during the outbreak. But you must be “able and available to work” to get these benefits, which generally range from $40-$450 per week for up to six months.

If you are currently sick of have been exposed to COVID-19:

Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.

Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.

If you are caring for someone who is sick:

Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.

Paid Family Leave provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

Pride Month 2022: Honoring the Diversity of Families

Pride Month 2022: Honoring the Diversity of Families

June is Pride Month! Taking place annually, Pride Month is a time for celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities that make up the LGBTQ+ population, and for recognizing the historical oppression this group has faced, the obstacles they...