On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reported 425 new coronavirus cases in the city. According to the mayor and the L.A. county department of public health, the county saw 1,260 new cases in the previous 24 hours. The mayor indicated that the new cases in the city represent a one-percent increase.
The reported cases in the county would represent a freefall of nearly 50 percent from the 2,364 reported Tuesday. Not to mention the differential with the all-time high of more than 2,500 the county reported on Monday.
As if it could not get any more confusing, the State of California’s county-by-county numbers indicated 2,508 new cases in L.A. County as of Wednesday.
When asked by Deadline about the discrepancy, Mayor Garcetti joked “welcome to the world of conflicting numbers.”
But Garcetti was not being glib about the situation. To drive the seriousness of the rising numbers home, the mayor put it more starkly: “One out of every 400 people in Los Angeles County has or has had COVID-19.”
Earlier in the day, the State of California announced a record 7,149 new cases. That number seemed at odds with the city and county numbers, since L.A. County has almost always accounted for the lion’s share of the state’s cases. And, on the same day the state saw a 2,000 case jump, the county saw a reported 1,000 case drop.
Late in the afternoon, in an unusual announcement, California Governor Gavin Newsom set a COVID-19 press conference for the following day.
Garcetti said that there is usually lag in the state numbers as they collect them. So, he speculated, the 7,000-plus new cases in the state may reflect data “from 36-24 hours before.”
The mayor said he pays more attention to the 7 day average of new cases. On that count, according to Garcetti, while L.A. city has previously accounted for 40% of the L.A. County cases, L.A. city becoming a smaller portion of that pie.
But the county’s own Twitter posts only added to the confusion.
Shortly before Garcetti took the podium, the county tweeted a graphic indicated 1,260 new cases.
But about 15 minutes before that, however, the county posted a tweet — since deleted, but captured below by Deadline — that indicated 2,364 new cases. That number would seem more in line with the state’s overall jump.
The mayor indicated that the recent rise in cases in other counties could be the cause for the increased state number. California Governor Gavin Newsom, however, indicated the Southern California counties he is most worried about are Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and also Los Angeles.
Garcetti emphasized concern that 40 percent of all new infections are among people 18-40 years old. “Just a month ago,” he said “it was 33 percent.” Garcetti then urged younger residents to avoid gathering to prevent further spread. “The virus,” he said, “thrives on our exhaustion.”
“We better all get our act together,” said Garcetti, because “there are some worrying signals.”
Among those, Garcetti reported that hospitalizations in the city are “going up slightly.” The comment echoed those of county officials on Tuesday as they warned of a similar trend.
The number of hospitalizations in the city has risen to 1515, he said. That’s up from around 1350 to 1450, but down from a high of 1900 at the peak, according to Garcetti.
The mayor said he is ordering the city to “scale up testing to meet the demand,” going from 7,700 tests a day last week to 13,600 tests.
“Get out and get tested,” said the mayor.
Earlier on Wednesday Newsom announced that the state had seen another record number of newly-diagnosed COVID-19 cases, 7,149 new infections. That’s a jump of 2,000 infections in just 24 hours.
In addition to a record number of cases, the state also had a record number of tests, 90,000-plus. But, said the governor, “those numbers can be misleading.”
A more important number, he maintained, is the positivity rate of those tested. Newsom recalled that it was 40.8 percent at the peak of the latest curve. He said that total, on the 14-day chart, is 5.6 percent. But that is up from 5.1 percent.
“We are seeing hospitalizations beginning to increase,” said Newsom citing another key indicator. The state has seen “a 29 percent increase in hospitalizations over a 14-day period,” he said. As with hospitalizations, Newsom indicated that the last few days have been even more acute than the long term tend line.
Total new deaths from the virus were 52, for a total of 5,632. But deaths are often a lagging indicator that only spike after cases, the positivity rate and hospitalizations rise. Public health officials hope to use those predictive numbers to head off a spike in mortalities.
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