Los Angeles County Coronavirus Cases Increase As Bars Forced To Close

Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reported 2,542 more cases of COVID-19 and 20 related deaths. It was the second highest daily total of new cases in the county since the pandemic began.

Los Angeles County has recorded a total of nearly 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths, health officials said.

The increase came when Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all bars in Los Angeles County, along with six other counties, to close immediately in an attempt to control the growing spread of the coronavirus.

Los Angeles County planned to amend its health officer’s order on Sunday to require that all bars, breweries, breweries, pubs, wineries and tasting rooms be closed unless they offer dinner meals, the Department of Public Health said. county in a press release. . Bar areas in restaurants will also be closed, authorities said.

In addition to the counties that were ordered to close bars, state officials have asked eight others to issue local health orders to close bars, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Santa Barbara.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California and, in some parts of the state, it is strengthening,” Newsom said in a written statement. “So it is critical that we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in counties that are experiencing the largest increases.”

Although officials initially attributed the increase in the number of Los Angeles County cases to further testing, they now say the data cannot be explained by the increased testing alone.

The timing of the sharp increase is in line with the reopening of certain sectors of the economy, including bars, where people tend to remove their covers to drink and socialize with others who are not at home, the Department of Public health. .

“As we began to reopen more businesses, we realized that we may need to change course to protect public health from this deadly virus,” wrote Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a tweet supporting the Newsom order.

Infections are also increasingly identified in younger people, with 41% of cases now between the ages of 18 to 40, according to the Department of Public Health. While people in that age group have a lower risk of serious illness and death, they may unknowingly infect friends or family who are older or have underlying health conditions, authorities said.

“While it is disappointing to step back on our economic recovery journey, it is essential to protect the health of our residents and protect the capacity of our health system,” said Barbara Ferrer, county health director, in a statement.

He implored residents and businesses to follow public health directives, including wearing face covers in public and staying six feet away from others.

“Otherwise, we are moving quickly to overwhelm our health system and see even more devastating disease and death,” he said.

The growing numbers of Los Angeles County are not limited to new daily cases. Two other metrics that experts say are key to evaluating the county’s progress in fighting the virus, hospitalizations and the percentage of people who tested positive, also reflected increases that officials described as troubling.

A total of 1,717 confirmed patients with COVID-19 were in county hospitals on Sunday, compared to daily hospitalizations that had ranged from 1,350 to 1,450 in recent weeks. The county’s last three-day average of daily hospitalizations represented a 14% increase, according to its dashboard that tracks reopening metrics.

Meanwhile, the overall percentage of Los Angeles County residents who tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic, which had held steady at 8% since May, increased to 9% on Friday. The seven-day average percentage of people testing positive each day increased from 5.8% two weeks ago to 8.7% on Sunday.

The increases mean that Los Angeles County is failing on two more state-established measures for counties to maintain a variance that allows them to relax the rules of staying home more quickly.

The state designates a county for elevated transmission of the disease if its seven-day average of people who test positive for the virus increases above 8%. A county is also marked if the average number of COVID-19 confirmed patients in its hospitals increases more than 10% in three days.

Additionally, Los Angeles County has reported a rate of 231 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days, well above the state threshold of 25 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Neighboring counties have also seen an increase in new cases and hospitalizations.

San Bernardino County officials said Friday that local hospitals were beginning to reach “augmentation capacity” due to new COVID-19 cases, meaning they were approaching reaching their licensed limits on available beds. .

Riverside and Ventura counties also reported increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, believed to be related to a variety of factors, including an increase in meetings and outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities, authorities said.

Orange County reported its highest total number of new cases in one day on Saturday, with 502. On Sunday, the county reported 146 additional cases and three deaths, with a total of 12,608 cases and 326 deaths.

The county also reported a new record for hospitalizations on Sunday, with 492 COVID-19 patients, 170 of them in intensive care. The county’s last three-day average of daily hospitalized patients represented an increase of nearly 16%.

The percentage of people who tested positive for the virus each day also increased, increasing from 6.3% on June 19 to 9.2% on Sunday, according to data released by the county.

Orange County has yet to be singled out by the state for its increased transmission of illness or hospitalizations. The state has marked a total of 15 counties: Contra Costa, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura.