Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti began his Friday coronavirus news conference by reminding residents, “This threat is real. This threat is growing.” He emphasized that Angelenos need to wear masks whenever they’re outside. “There are lives at stake,” he said. “We need both individuals and businesses to act on this.”
The Los Angeles County Health Department revealed on Friday that 9.3 percent of all people tested were positive for coronavirus. In late May, Garcetti said, that number was 8 percent. The daily positivity rate — a composite of a 7-day rolling average — is now even higher, at 10 percent, he said.
“Hospitalizations have been rising,” continued the mayor, spiking as high as 2,023 earlier this week and down slightly on Friday to 1,995. Twenty-six percent of those people are in the ICU and 17 percent are confirmed cases on ventilators. “This remains substantially higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen four weeks ago,” he said.
Garcetti also noted that, while recently L.A. had had as many as 1,000 available hospital beds, the region was now down to just 405, with only 113 ICU beds remain. That’s for a region with a population of 10 million people.
The mayor said the city and county were closely monitoring the surge capacity of all bed types. He said the region still had over 1,000 ventilators available and “have confidence in the next few weeks that we can surge if necessary.”
Watch Garcetti’s Friday news conference below.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 2,667 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 127,358 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County. “Cases have gone up even more than deaths,” said the mayor.
Speaking of which, Public Health reported 51 new deaths and, to date, has identified a total of 3,738 deaths related to the virus. “We had 5 weeks of declines,” said Garcetti, “and now it jumped back up.” He said the total number of COVID-related deaths for the week was 281, a high not seen in weeks.
Fifty percent of new cases, he said, are now among 18-40 year olds. “We’ve seen a dangerous rise in cases there, he said.”
“We are beginning to see some hopeful signs,” he said. “A week ago our infection rate was 1.26. Today it’s 1.01.” Garcetti said we need to get those numbers “under 1 and keep them there.”
Garcetti also announced the region is adding 18,000 additional tests next week, partially made possible by the reopening of the West L.A. site at the veteran’s building there. That should being the weekly total of tests offered to just under 100,000. Contact tracing efforts continue to ramp up as well, according to the county health department.
Earlier on Friday, California reported 7,798 new cases of coronavirus. That marked the second highest total the state has ever seen. Two days ago, California set that record, with 11,694 new cases. That total included a backlog of cases from Los Angeles County. The total of confirmed cases in the state now stands at 304,297.
Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom said the the state has seen a 7.1% test positivity rate over 14 days. “That 7 percent can spike,” he warned. It may be doing just that as, on Friday, the same 14 day average of positivity rose it 7.4 percent.
The virus was responsible for 140 new deaths in California on Friday. That’s very close the all-time daily high of 149 deaths seen just one day before. Before Wednesday, today’s 140 new deaths would have been the record by a long shot.
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