The number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County crossed the 75,000 mark Tuesday, while more than 30 additional fatalities were reported, pushing the countywide death toll to nearly 3,000.
The grim numbers came as businesses reopen across the county, although officials said around 1,000 newly operating restaurants were failing to provide safe conditions that comply with county directions.
And area nursing homes continued to be a center of coronavirus cases and deaths.
The county Department of Public Health reported another 1,337 cases of the virus, while Long Beach confirmed 78 more. The new cases gave the county a total of 75,162.
Meanwhile, another 33 deaths were reported by the county, and Long Beach announced one additional fatality. As of Tuesday afternoon, the countywide death toll stood at 2,960.
Of the 2,748 people who died for which ethnic data was available, 42% were Latino, 28% were white, 17% were Asian, 11% were Black and less than 1% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
A total of 1,288 people were hospitalized due to the virus as of Tuesday, and 31% of those people were in intensive-care units.
Roughly half of the coronavirus deaths in the county have occurred among residents of skilled nursing facilities, a fact that has been a cause of concern throughout the pandemic, prompting increases in testing and a ban on visitors at such facilities.
On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, sent a letter to county Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger, asking for an update on the county’s testing program at nursing homes.
“I would like to request an update on the county’s outbreak as well as to offer my full assistance in helping address any issues that are preventing the county from safely reopening with adequate testing and other health measures in place,” Feinstein wrote.
As of Tuesday, nearly 841,000 people have been tested for the virus in the county, with about 8% testing positive.
County officials again urged residents to continue taking precautions when they venture out in public, including wearing face coverings and maintaining a six-foot distance from others. They also advised business owners to ensure they are meeting all health requirements before reopening.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer said Monday that inspectors visited 2,000 restaurants over the weekend, and half of them were “still not in compliance” with health requirements.
“They’ll be revisiting all of the restaurants that were not in compliance and issuing them an order to come into compliance,” Ferrer said. “We’ve been doing a lot of education, but starting this week we’re actually going to revisit places where we noted that people still had concerns, they had confusion, they hadn’t quite made the changes. There should be no places where tables are right next to each other. They either need a six-foot (separation) or a physical barrier. Those are requirements in the protocols.
“… We’re really working hard with our restaurants,” she said. “I want to note that 50% of the restaurants we visited were in complete compliance, which is way up from where we were the first weekend. So I want to thank all those restaurants that are in fact doing their very best to adhere to the protocols and put in place those measures that offer safety.”
Barger said Monday the county is trying to strike a balance between public safety and the need for businesses to reopen and put people back to work.
“Because we know it’s not an `either-or,’ it’s got to be an `and.’ We want to be driven by industry, recognizing that Dr. Ferrer and her team will help us ensure that people are doing the social distancing and everything is in place at each business to ensure that people are protected,” Barger said.
“So it’s a constant balancing act, for sure, and there’s no perfect science,” she said. “But I know in L.A. County we want it to be both industry and public health driving that narrative moving forward, and we’ve done it in a very slow, deliberative fashion to make sure that we are, again, balancing the public health needs with getting people back to work.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: