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L.A. County coronavirus surge worsens with 4,000 new cases, higher infection rate

Coronavirus testing site at Dodger Stadium
COVID-19 testing resumed at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, July 7.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Coronavirus conditions in Los Angeles County continued to deteriorate on Tuesday as officials released numbers that marked another new record for daily new cases and the inflection rate continued to surge.

Officials confirmed 46 more coronavirus-related deaths and 4,015 additional cases Tuesday — the highest number of infections the county has reported in a single day.

That’s largely due to the roughly 2,000 test results that were backlogged from July 2 to July 5.

The seven-day average for the county’s daily positivity rate — those who test positive for the virus — has climbed to 11.6%.

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On Monday, it was just below 10%.

There are currently 1,969 people hospitalized for COVID-19 — 27% of whom are in intensive care. The number of hospitalizations started to rise beyond 1,900 on July 1. That number is noticeably higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen about three weeks ago.

Officials have previously warned of the possible limitation in hospital capacity if patients with the coronavirus have to start competing with others without, but there is currently not a depletion in the county.

The number of cases in L.A. County is now over 120,500 — the bulk of the state’s total. While the number of cases continues to spike throughout California as the virus spreads, backlogged test results have also resulted in recent high reported numbers.

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On Sunday, county officials reported a total of 7,232 new COVID-19 cases from Thursday, Friday and Saturday, after a delay. Friday marked the highest single-day total of new cases in the county: 3,187.

On Monday, Orange County reported 1,028 additional cases, 1,013 of which were from specimens collected between June 20 and July 3; the others were collected before June 19.

The coronavirus surged across California with the reopening of the economy last month.

A survey by USC this week found L.A. County residents are increasingly concerned that California is lifting restrictions on public activity due to the pandemic too quickly. While 75% of survey respondents expressed such worry in early May, 79% did so in mid-June.

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L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday that it’s obvious people fed up with the stay-at-home order and wanting to return to a pre-pandemic way of life are a big reason behind the increased spread of disease.

“It’s clear that after months of quarantine, combined with the reopening of many sectors in the span of several weeks, we’ve had a lot of people disregard the very practices that allowed us to slow the spread,” Ferrer said. “Our inability to follow the most basic infection control and distancing directives leads to serious illness, and even the death of the people we love.”

Ferrer said she understands that “everyone is extraordinarily tired, and they’re tired of having to deal with this virus.” But she added that “the sooner we get back to creating a new normal” — avoiding crowds, confined spaces, close contact; and always wearing masks and staying physically distant from those not in our household — the sooner we can return to school and work and seeing friends and family.


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