L.A. County surpasses 4,000 COVID-19 deaths to cap a record-breaking week

Motorists line up in multiple lanes at Dodger Stadium for coronavirus testing on July 8.
Motorists line up for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium on July 8.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County has seen a record-breaking week when it comes to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

More than 4,000 Los Angeles County residents have now died from causes related to COVID-19, and more than 150,000 cases of the virus have been recorded, authorities announced Friday.

Those numbers came on the heels of Thursday’s total of 4,506 new coronavirus cases, which shattered the previous one-day record of 4,244 that was set just two days before.

It was the county’s worst week for new infections since the pandemic began, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday, with 23,310 new cases soaring past the 17,000 added the week before.

“The simple truth of this fight is that this virus is affecting more and more of us every day,” Garcetti said.


A similar surge is taking place across California, which has now tallied 374,522 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,613 deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times’ California coronavirus tracker.

There are loud and persistent calls for Californians to wear masks when out in public, but so far enforcement of the mandate is modest at best.

On Tuesday, the state recorded its highest number of new cases in a single day — 11,142 — and its second-highest number of deaths — 144.

Though L.A. County residents still account for more than half of the state’s deaths, they are a declining share of the total number of cases — about 40% — compared with closer to 50% in mid-May.

Over the last two weeks, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties have all reported higher per capita coronavirus case rates than L.A. County, according to a Times analysis.

In addition to new cases, hospitalizations also continue to rise. That metric is particularly worrying because too steep a surge in patients could risk overwhelming the healthcare system, experts say.

L.A. County reported record numbers of confirmed coronavirus patients in its hospitals on Tuesday and again Wednesday. There were 2,122 such patients Friday, with 26% in intensive care and 18% on ventilators. The most recent three-day average of daily hospitalizations represents an increase of 13%, according to the Department of Public Health dashboard that tracks reopening metrics.

In a bid to tamp down the uptick, Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 28 ordered bars closed in L.A. County and several others, followed by indoor restaurant dining on July 1. Officials have said it will take at least three weeks to learn whether the closures had an effect.