Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said that the county saw 2,903 new cases on Monday, a record high. The coronavirus has now infected a total of 100,772 people in L.A. County.
In a statement Monday, public health officials revealed that the 7-day average of daily reported new cases is now nearly 2,000. That’s an increase from the 1,379 average two weeks ago.
Ferrer said there had been 22 additional COVID deaths in the county as of Monday, with a total of 3,326 fatalities.
The cumulative test positivity rate has increased from 8 percent to now 9 percent, according to the health department.
“The increases we’re seeing today are not from testing,” said Ferrer. “This indicates definitively that we are seeing increased community transmission.”
The county is now doing 17,000 tests each day. That’s a small rise from about 15,000 recently. Facilities have, thusfar, done more than 1 million tests on residents. But in a county of 10 million people, that’s a comparatively small number.
Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Dr. Christine Ghaly indicated that all area hospitals need to gird themselves for an increase in coronavirus cases. “These curves are no longer flat,” she said of infection rates and hospitalizations. “Instead, they have a very steep trajectory.”
Last week, said Ghaly, 1 in 400 people in Los Angeles had COVID. This week, that ratio has increased to 1 in 140.
“We expect the number of new cases to rise quickly,” said Ghaly. In addition, she indicted that “hospitalizations are on the rise.”
“We are likely to fill our ICU beds in the very near future,” said Ghaly. While the number of ICU beds are, today, adequate, there are only 200 open beds, and that’s not many.
“We are very likely to see an increase in mortality in the coming weeks,” said Ghaly. A rise in deaths is a lagging indicator, spiking only after infections and hospitalizations.
Asked about the upcoming holiday weekend, Ferrer said, “We are looking at, with our beach mayors, all the options to keep ourselves safe.” Asked if this is a make-or-break week, Ferrer continued, “We can’t sustain this rate of increase in positive cases. This train can be a runaway train if we don’t put the breaks on it. We have to get our heads back into this new normal.”
Ferrer indicated that businesses are a large contributor to the continued growth of COVID-19. Many business not requiring masks or physical distancing, she said. This weekend, 3 weeks after county guidelines were released, Ferrer reported that 33 percent of restaurants inspected were not adhering to the county safety protocols.
“Immediate action is needed,” she said.
“If you’re not part of the solution to slowing the spread, you’re ending up part of the problem.”
“If we do this right, we are going to get back on track without closing any other sectors,” said Ferrer. “It’s time to come into compliance.”
Ferrer offered these suggestions for every resident:
– Stay home whenever possible.
– Always wear your face mask when outside
– Avoid the 3 C’s: confined spaces, crowds and close contact
– Stay connected with technology.
Also on Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated that he would likely be using the “dimmer switch” to toggle back reopening measures in more hard-hit counties. He said there were seven counties, including Los Angeles, that likely would need to step back their reopenings. If counties are not effective in preventative measures, the state will intervene and close them back down, he said.
“We are considering a number of other things to advance and we will make those announcements as appropriate…augmenting the orders and advancing even more restrictive ones.”
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