Since the beginning of June, she said, the case rate for people between 30 and 49 has tripled. Since June 9, the case rate among those between 18 and 29 has quadrupled.
And while fatality rates are relatively low, younger people do die of coronavirus. The county has seen reported 32 COVID-related deaths for people between 18 and 29 since the pandemic began and 319 deaths for those between the ages of 30 and 49.
“A few months ago,” Ferrer continued, “we were in a much better place than we are now.” Unfortunately, she said, the virus has came back.
One contributor to the rising rates among young people that’s received a lot of attention are recent large parties among the younger age cohort.
“These parties and gatherings hurt all of us,” said Ferrer. “We ask that everyone make good decisions. Don’t host large parties and don’t attend one if you’re invited.”
She then went on to say that gatherings such as the one in Beverly Crest on Monday night are against the health officer’s order, and not allowed. “You can’t have parties right now.”
“Gatherings are simply not allowed at this point under the health officer order,” Ferrer said. “Because they create a lot of risk for transmission at activities that really are not essential.”
The Department of Public Health said in a statement that it “has issued a legally binding health officer order” that bans gatherings, including parties, during the coronavirus pandemic.
The order aims to “protect the health and lives of county residents,” the department said. Violation of the order could mean a fine, jail or both.
“We urge every resident in Los Angeles County to follow the health officer order and avoid organizing and attending gatherings that include people outside their own household,” the statement said.
“You’re putting yourself and other people at great risk when you’re going to that party,” said Ferrer. “The data is crystal clear. If people are getting together at parties…it is almost impossible to prevent transmission of this virus.”
Asked about enforcement Ferrer responded, “We are working hard and we are responding to thousands of different complaints each week.”
But she said, “I do think an equally good question to ask is why so many people are willing to put our entire community at risk during this unprecedented pandemic.”
“We will not be able to arrest our way out of the pandemic,” asserted the director.
Ferrer also announced on Wednesday coronavirus prevention requirements for colleges and universities which, at this point are distance-learning only. “We’re not certain when colleges and schools might reopen.”
And when they do, “It simply won’t be possible to return to collegiate life as it was before,” she said.
“Dorms, classrooms and social life that’s offered by our colleges and universities create high-risk activities and become high-risk settings,” observed Ferrer. “We’ve already started seeing hot spots.”
She reported that, in addition to a recent outbreak at USC, eight UCLA football players had tested positive for the virus.
Among the new requirements is a 14-day quarantine period for any student returning from overseas.
The document also covers extensive symptom checking in class and in on-campus housing:
Symptom checks are conducted before students come to class, dining halls or other scheduled campus activities where they may come in contact with other students or employees. Students living in oncampus housing should complete symptom checks daily, regardless of whether they attend classes or participate in scheduled campus activities that day. Checks must include a check-in concerning cough, shortness of breath or fever and any other symptoms the student may be experiencing. These checks can be done remotely or in person upon the students’ arrival. A temperature check should be done if feasible.
L.A. County reported on Wednesday 68 new COVID-related deaths. Total number of deaths is 4,825.
The region saw 2,347 new cases of COVID-19. “This is likely to be an undercount,” said Ferrer, due to the recently revealed state data glitch impacting new cases. The total number of cases in the county to date is reported at 197,912.
The virus currently has 1,768 in the hospital, 30 percent of whom are on ventilators.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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