Infectious coronavirus encounters are now likely in LA

LOS ANGELES, CA – Coronavirus hospitalizations have increased in Los Angeles along with new cases of COVID-19, a worrying trend as community transmission appears to be on the rise.

On Tuesday, health officials reported a total of 2,614 new cases across the county along with 34 more deaths and a total of 1,515 hospitalizations. Although the county has seen an increase in hospitalizations, recent averages between 1,350 and 1,450 are still below pandemic peaks of more than 1,900. The county is not in immediate danger of hospitals being overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, said county health services director Dr. Christina Ghaly. However, if the spread of the virus continues to accelerate, it could threaten the availability of intensive care unit beds, she warned.

What does worry health officials is the growing percentage of people who test positive for the virus. The overall percentage of people who tested positive in the past seven days increased to 8.8%, compared to 8.4% on Monday and from 5.8% just 11 days ago. The trend seems to indicate that the virus is spreading in the community. The new cases brought the county grand total to 88,512. So far, 3,172 Angelenos have died from COVID-19.

County public health director Barbara Ferrer said last week that some of the recent daily reports of more than 2,000 new cases were due in part to delays in reporting from selected testing labs. But that was not the case on Monday, when he said the increases are an indication that the community’s spread of the virus is increasing.

The bottom line is that Angelenos can expect to routinely come into contact with infectious people while away from home.

Ghaly said Monday that an analysis of case numbers and estimates found that about one in 400 Los Angeles County residents is currently “infectious,” meaning they have the virus but show no symptoms and have not been formally diagnosed. , and therefore are not hospitalized. or in isolation. Given a margin of error, that number of infectious people could actually range from one in 200 residents to one in 750 residents.

“What this means is that Angelenos over the course of a typical day will likely interact with various potentially infectious people,” said Ghaly.

Such an increase was anticipated when the county began reopening businesses about a month ago, prompting more people to leave their homes and interact with others. Although no group of cases has been specifically related to the recent mass protests against police brutality, Ferrer said it is very likely that these marches, many of which included large numbers of people without masks and ignoring mandates of social distancing, caused a further spread of the virus.

The increasing number of cases is often attributed to more people undergoing testing, and health officials trying to track the spread of the disease have been taking a closer look at other key factors, such as the number of hospitalizations, positive test rates and transmission rate: The average number of people to whom a coronavirus patient transmits the virus.

Continuing increases in hospitalizations and test positivity rates could increase the possibility that the county will reimpose business closings and tighter orders to stay home to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

“Public Health will monitor the data closely to see how increases in cases and positivity rates affect the number of daily hospitalizations in the coming weeks,” according to a county DPH statement. “Our collective goal is to prevent an overwhelming increase in COVID-19 cases in healthcare facilities.”

Authorities emphasized the need for people to take precautions when venturing out in public, wearing cloth face covers and keeping a distance of at least six feet from people outside of their own home.

The county also reported Tuesday a failure in the online reservation system at test sites in the area. According to the county, all of the assessment appointments available this week are full. County officials said the problem was due to the city of Los Angeles changing its online registration system to a new provider, reducing the number of test sites and blocking all appointments beyond Wednesday as it happens. the change.

Health officials said that at the end of the day, the county evidence booking site will open appointments at select locations on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.

City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this story.