Los Angeles County reported 2,916 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths Saturday, providing further evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down.
The latest figures bring the county’s totals to 130,242 cases and 3,793 fatalities.
Hospitalizations continue to rise as well, with more than 2,000 people currently hospitalized, 27% of them in intensive care units and 18% on ventilators. Those numbers are substantially higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen four weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“For those of you mourning the loss of a loved one from COVID-19, your community mourns with you,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “This virus has taken a toll on all of us including our children. It’s important that we find ways to feel joy in this time. I encourage you to safely spend time outside. Take full advantage of the natural resources we have in our county, including our beautiful beaches, mountain trails and parks. But do so while avoiding the three Cs: crowds, confined spaces and close contact with people outside your own household. If a trail is crowded, look for another one. If the beach is full of people, move to a less populated area. Wear your face covering and keep your distance whenever there are other people around that are not from your household. We must work together to get back to being able to slow the spread. Unless we can do this, our recovery journey is in jeopardy.”
Testing results were available for over 1.3 million people, with 9% testing positive.
The average daily positivity rate over the past seven days, however, was at 10% as of Friday. That number is up from the 8.4% rate of about a week ago, but slightly below the 11.6% rate it reached earlier this week.
Of the deaths reported Saturday, 37 people were over the age of 65, 11 were between the ages of 41 and 65, and three were between the ages of 18 and 40.
Ferrer said multiple times this week that the increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations could lead to spiking numbers of deaths in the coming weeks.
On Thursday, she again warned that younger residents continue to drive the increasing numbers of infections, and those people can easily pass the infection to people more vulnerable to serious complications or death.
“Younger people infect everybody else,” she said. “… They don’t just get to choose, I’m only going to infect a low-risk person that I know is going to be able to tolerate COVID-19. That’s not how it works. As a young person, you inadvertently unknowingly could be infecting people even in your age cohort who then go on and infect somebody else who’s at risk and actually may even die.”
Fears of the virus spreading among young people are particularly acute over the weekend, with a heat wave driving up temperatures, likely leading to large crowds at Southland beaches.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged residents Friday evening to continue taking precautions — avoiding crowded places, confined spaces and close contact with others. He said get-togethers with people outside residents’ own households are still prohibited under health orders.
“Gatherings large and small are a major source of spread,” the mayor said.
County health officials and Garcetti warned this week that if the surge in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations continue, the county could see a return to tougher stay-at-home orders to slow the virus’ spread.