The coronavirus continues to spread in L.A. County as officials Friday confirmed 51 more deaths related to COVID-19 and 2,667 additional cases.
There are 1,995 people hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in the county, with 26% in intensive care and 17% on ventilators. It’s a significant increase from the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen four weeks ago, according to the Department of Public Health.
Meanwhile, the seven-day average for the county’s daily positivity rate — those who test positive for the virus — has climbed to 10%.
L.A. County has identified more than 127,300 cases of the virus and seen more than 3,700 deaths, with the number of patients with confirmed infections having increased by more than 40% in the last three weeks. Officials have warned of the potential for exceeding hospital capacity if patients with the coronavirus have to start competing with others for a bed.
“As we continue to see increases in new cases and hospitalizations, it is important to remember that if you think you could be positive and are awaiting testing results, to stay at home and act as if you are positive for COVID-19,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in a statement. “This means self-isolating for 10 days and 72 hours after symptoms and fever subside.”
Los Angeles is on the state’s list of counties being monitored for their rising case counts and increased hospitalizations. If counties remain on the list for three or more consecutive days, the state will require them to close bars and indoor dining in restaurants, along with most other indoor business operations, for at least three weeks. L.A. County reopened restaurants for in-person dining on May 29 and allowed bars to reopen on June 19. Its bars were ordered shut again on June 28, and indoor dining rooms on July 1.
During a Friday briefing, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti reminded Angelenos that socializing and gathering with people outside of their households is still not allowed. He warned — as he did earlier this week — that the city could reimpose a mandatory stay-at-home order should the risk of infection worsen.
“We’re not back to a safer at home order, but we all need to do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Twenty thousand people were tested at city and county testing sites on Friday, Garcetti said. To meet surging demand, city testing capacity will increase by 25% next week. More than 1 million people have now been tested by the city and county, he said.
The coronavirus surged across California with the reopening of the economy last month, with people beginning to socialize again in ways that allowed the virus to spread rapidly across communities. A survey by USC this week found L.A. County residents are increasingly concerned that California is lifting restrictions on public activity due to the pandemic too quickly. While 75% of survey respondents expressed such worry in early May, 79% did so in mid-June.
Times staff writer Colleen Shalby, Hannah Fry, and Luke Money contributed to this report.