On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reported 425 new cases of coronavirus in the city. According to the mayor and the Los Angeles County public health department, the county saw 1,260 new cases in the past 24 hours. The mayor indicated that the new cases in the city represent an increase of one percent.
The cases reported in the county would represent a free fall of almost 50 percent from the 2,364 reported Tuesday. Not to mention the differential with the all-time high of more than 2,500 the county reported Monday.
As if it couldn’t be more confusing, the county-by-county numbers for the state of California indicated 2,508 new cases in Los Angeles County as of Wednesday.
When asked by Deadline about the discrepancy, Mayor Garcetti joked, “Welcome to the world of conflicting numbers.”
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But Garcetti was not making fun of the situation. To bring the seriousness of the growing number home, the mayor put it more harshly: “One in 400 people in Los Angeles County has or has had COVID-19.”
Earlier in the day, the State of California announced a record 7,149 new cases. That number seemed to be at odds with city and county numbers, as Los Angeles County has almost always accounted for most of the state’s cases. And, the same day the state saw a 2,000-case jump, the county saw a 1,000 reported case drop.
In the late afternoon, in an unusual announcement, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 press conference for the following day.
Garcetti said there is generally a delay in state numbers as they collect them. So, she speculated, the more than 7,000 new cases in the state may reflect data “from 36-24 hours before.”
The mayor said he pays more attention to the 7-day average of new cases. In that regard, according to Garcetti, while the city of Los Angeles already represented 40% of Los Angeles County cases, the city of Los Angeles became a smaller portion of that pie.
But the county’s Twitter posts only added to the confusion.
Shortly before Garcetti took the podium, the county tweeted a graph showing 1,260 new cases.
However, about 15 minutes before that, the county posted a tweet, already deleted, but then captured by Deadline, indicating 2,364 new cases. That number would seem more in keeping with the state’s overall jump.
The mayor indicated that the recent increase in cases in other counties could be the cause of the increase in the number of states. California Governor Gavin Newsom, however, noted that the southern California counties that most concern him are Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and also Los Angeles.
Garcetti emphasized concern that 40 percent of all new infections are from people between the ages of 18 and 40. “Just a month ago,” she said, “it was 33 percent.” Garcetti then urged younger residents to avoid meeting to prevent further spread. “The virus,” he said, “thrives on our exhaustion.”
“We all better act together,” Garcetti said, because “there are some troubling signs.”
Among them, Garcetti reported that hospitalizations in the city are “increasing slightly.” The comment echoed those of county officials Tuesday, warning of a similar trend.
The number of hospitalizations in the city has increased to 1,515, he said. That’s an increase from around 1,350 to 1,450, but it dropped from a peak of 1,900 at the peak, according to Garcetti.
The mayor said he is ordering the city to “expand testing to meet demand,” going from 7,700 tests a day last week to 13,600 tests.
“Get out and get tested,” said the mayor.
Earlier Wednesday, Newsom announced that the state had seen another record number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, 7,149 new infections. That’s a jump of 2,000 infections in just 24 hours.
In addition to a record number of cases, the state also had a record number of tests, over 90,000. But, the governor said, “those numbers can be misleading.”
A more important number, he maintained, is the positivity rate of those analyzed. Newsom recalled that it was 40.8 percent at the peak of the last curve. He said the total, on the 14-day chart, is 5.6 percent. But that’s over 5.1 percent.
“We are seeing hospitalizations start to increase,” Newsom said, citing another key indicator. The state has seen “a 29 percent increase in hospitalizations over a 14-day period,” he said. As with hospitalizations, Newsom said the past few days have been even sharper than the long-term hotline.
The total number of new deaths from the virus was 52, for a total of 5,632. But deaths are often a lagging indicator that only increases after cases, the positivity rate and hospitalizations increase. Public health officials hope to use those predictive numbers to avoid an increase in mortality.