Los Angeles County health officials today confirmed an additional 1,401 COVID-19 cases. This is the highest daily total recorded in the past two weeks.
Health officials fear a spike in cases similar to those following Memorial Day and the July 4th holiday, as residents, under quarantine fatigue, took advantage of newly opened stores and flocked to beaches and gatherings.
The county reported four consecutive days with more than 1,000 new cases last week and again three consecutive days this week, culminating in Friday’s two-week high.
Public Health Reports 34 new deaths and 1,401 new positive cases of confirmed # COVID19 in Los Angeles County – 4 additional cases of MIS-C in identified children. Further information can be found at https://t.co/MtfbSaCWHg pic.twitter.com/GcAvULcDSc
– LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) September 25, 2020
“We have seen a slight increase in new cases and are monitoring our case, hospital and death numbers to understand the recent community transmission of COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, in a statement.
California Coronavirus Update: State estimates suggest that COVID-related hospital stays will increase 89% over the next month
“The dates for the coming weekend will inform our understanding of the impact of the Labor Day vacation promotions. This information will influence decisions about reopening. “
Local nail salons have been waiting for the county to hear whether they can resume operations indoors. The state has cleared the store to reopen, but the county has kept it closed pending news of a possible post-Labor increase that health officials fear could be exacerbated by further reopenings.
The sudden spike in cases could also jeopardize the county’s ability to get off the most restrictive tier of the roadmap for the state’s coronavirus economic reopening. Due to the declining number of cases, the district was on the verge of transitioning from the restrictive “purple” level to the less burdensome “red” level, which could allow more companies, including cinemas, to reopen.
One of the metrics the state uses to rate the counties’ efforts to slow the spread of the virus is the number of new daily cases per 100,000 residents – a number that is now rising in LA County.
On Wednesday, the county reported a worrying spike in local virus transmission rates – the average number of people a coronavirus patient infected with the disease. That number had steadily declined below the critical threshold of 1.0, but on Wednesday it rose to 1.02.
Health officials have said keeping the transmission rate below 1 is critical to slow the spread of the virus.
State and local health experts have been warning for weeks of a possible spike in cases after Labor Day, when people gathered for parties and barbecues, and a “second wave” of the virus at the start of the flu season. California’s top health official said Friday’s numbers could be the first hint of this trend.
The state reported 3,400 new cases on Friday, a slight increase from recent lows. The more worrying number, however, is the 14-day moving average of new cases, which has increased slightly over the past few days.
Given the current numbers, the state is forecasting an 89% increase in hospitalized COVID patients – from nearly 2,600 patients to more than 4,800 at the end of October.
As of Friday, 760 people had been hospitalized in Los Angeles County for the virus, a slight increase from Thursday but still well below the 2,200 average for the weeks after July 4th.
A sudden surge in hospital admissions would likely lead to a possible increase in deaths, according to health officials.
The 1,401 cases announced by the county, along with 34 cases reported by Long Beach health officials and five cases reported by Pasadena, brought the cumulative nationwide total since the pandemic started to 265,814.
The county reported an additional 34 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, although three of those deaths were actually reported by Long Beach officials on Thursday. Long Beach added two more deaths on Friday. The nationwide death toll from the pandemic was 6,490 as of Friday afternoon.
Dr. Los Angeles county health officer Muntu Davis said Thursday that non-compliance with restrictions, especially those that shut off many indoor businesses and worship services, could exacerbate the spread of
“Not just for us in terms of public health, but also for others who are watching and monitoring the spread of this virus and trying to do everything possible to control it. It’s important if we don’t take the necessary measures to slow the spread in our county, ”Davis said in an online press conference Thursday.
“As we go through, we continue to examine any options that might be available to us,” he said. “Of course, I can’t go into many details in every case, but (we) keep trying to build what we need to achieve compliance with all regulations. This is really what is needed at this point. Everyone has to do what they have to do to slow it down. “
The City News Service contributed to this report.