UPDATED 4:15 PM One day after Los Angeles County reported a record number of new coronavirus cases, the Los Angeles Public Health Department confirmed that Wednesday saw the highest number of COVID-related hospitalizations reported since the pandemic began. There are currently 2,193 people currently hospitalized with coronavirus. That breaks a record set just two days before.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer called new data “troubling and startling,” before warning a return of a countywide stay-at-home order might be in the offing.
The director announced that the 7-day rolling average of the test positivity rate is up to 9.8 percent. That’s compared to 9 percent earlier this week.
Ferrer said the county had seen 2,758 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past 24 hours. While not an all-time high, the number was significant enough to prompt the director to say, “We are in an alarming place.” She followed by saying noting the “7-day average of 2,859 new cases a day is double where it was in June.”
“We don’t want to see upwards of 3,000 cases a day,” she said.
“We now see a 3 day average of over 2,000 people hospitalized from COVID-19, more than at any other time since the pandemic began,” said Ferrer. Those are the highest rates the region has had since the pandemic began.
“There has also been an increase in patients who need ICU and ventilators,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. She then reported that the effective transmission number is now 1.07. That’s up from 1.01 late last week.
As a result, “The number of ICU beds may become inadequate,” she warned. Hospitals and local health officials are, according to Ghaly, “Working to implement disaster plans.” The biggest issue that’s constraining ICU beds is staffing, she said, not the beds themselves.
The number of remaining ICU beds was, frustratingly, not given. But Ferrer did reveal that there are currently 2,193 people who are hospitalized with COVID-19.
According to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, on Monday there was a record-high total of 2,103 hospitalizations in the county, with 766 beds left. Monday saw an increase to 565 ICU patients compared with 397 a month ago, Garcetti said then. There were 141 ICU beds remaining in the greater Los Angeles area at that time, according to the Mayor.
“These trends are related to actions two weeks ago,” said Ferrer, noting the recent Memorial Day holiday. But, after several workplace closings after outbreaks, businesses also need to do better, she indicated.
“All workplaces,” she said, “must deploy essential resources to every worker.”
“Keeping businesses open is only possible if we can slow the spread,” said Ferrer. Business owners and operators, she continued, “have a moral corporate responsibility to keep employees healthy.”
When asked about a renewed Safer-At-Home order, Ferrer said, “We can’t take anything off the table. We have to do everything we can to protect the health care system. Do we want to go back to a Safer-At home order? Absolutely not.”
The trends, however, seem to have L.A. headed in that direction.
On Monday California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all counties to close their restaurants, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, wineries, zoos and bars for indoor service. Bars were ordered to close entirely.
Additionally, L.A. and 31 other counties on the state’s monitoring list must close fitness centers, places of worship, nail and hair salons and indoor malls. Other L.A.-local counties impacted include Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Diego, Orange and virtually every other county in Southern California.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed record new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in a day with 4,244 new cases and 2,103 people currently hospitalized.
That compares with 2,593 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Of the 2,103 people hospitalized on Monday, 27 percent of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU and 19 percent are confirmed cases on ventilators. According to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, on Monday there were only 766 hospital beds left for the region’s 10 million residents.
That led Garcetti to say that the city’s COVID-19 threat meter is “on the border of going to red,” the highest level, which would mean a complete shutdown in L.A. owing to the pandemic.
The county confirmed 73 new deaths of Covid-19 on Tuesday. This is one of the highest number of new deaths reported in a day and may reflect a lag in the reporting of deaths over the weekend. “To put that in perspective, said Ferrrer, 76 deaths is the most we’ve seen since this pandemic began.
There were 44 new deaths due to coronavirus on Wednesday, with a total of 3,932 total deaths in L.A. County since the pandemic began.
On Wednesday, health officials also announced that the county is expanding its testing footprint by 65 percent over the next few weeks, especially in South Los Angeles. Currently, the region conducts about 100,000 tests a day for a population of 10 million.
New health officer order, effective today prioritizes those who have symptoms, are in high-risk settings. Known close contact. Essential workers. Effective today. Unless you fall into one of those categories, you may not need to be tested.
The order comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom announced similar guidance on testing.
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