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Los Angeles County COVID-19 cases continue to surge after a record-breaking week

Drivers receive COVID-19 testing kits at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South L.A. on July 8.
Drivers receive COVID-19 testing kits at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles on July 8.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

After the worst week for new transmissions since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Los Angeles County reported an additional 2,770 positive cases and 37 deaths on Saturday.

For the fourth consecutive day, L.A. County saw more than 2,100 people hospitalized for COVID-19, the Department of Public Health said. Of those patients, 18% are on ventilators and 28% are in the intensive care unit.

Public health officials said they are particularly concerned that adults younger than 40 are being hospitalized at the highest rate yet during the pandemic.

Of the 37 people whose deaths were reported Saturday, 25 were older than 65, officials said. Two of the victims were younger than 40, both with underlying health conditions.

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Cases have continued to surge unchecked across California, with more than 380,000 total confirmed cases Saturday. Hospitalizations have more than doubled and deaths have nearly tripled since Gov. Gavin Newsom began allowing businesses to reopen May 8.

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

After a spike in cases, Newsom closed bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles, on June 28, and in-restaurant dining on July 1. Officials have said that it will take at least three weeks to learn whether those closures had an effect.

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Health officials have asked residents to cover their faces when they leave their homes, and to avoid the “three Cs” of the pandemic: crowded places, confined spaces, and close contact with anyone not in their household.

If you think you have COVID-19, stay home, get tested as soon as possible and behave as if you have the virus until you receive your test results, officials say. That means self-isolating for 10 days, and for three days after any symptoms subside.

“We are all experiencing the frustration from this pandemic,” Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, said in a prepared statement. “I ask that we each behave with kindness and consider that we can all prevent sickness and death.”

Residents of L.A. County still represent more than half the deaths in California. But as cases surge in other areas, the county’s share of the total number of cases is declining: about 40% now, compared with about half in May.

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In the last two weeks, cases have spread faster in several suburban counties — including Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino — than in L.A. County, according to a Times analysis.

Across California, transmission rates for coronavirus continued to rise. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 375,000 Friday, and the number of deaths exceeded 7,600.

Hospitalizations also have continued to rise statewide, worrying experts because a steep surge in patients could overwhelm the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, in Orange County, health officials on Saturday reported 702 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 25 additional deaths, as the overall number of cases continued to surge.

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases countywide stands at 29,011, and 494 related deaths since the pandemic began. The number of infections in Orange County has grown dramatically over the last month and is now second only to Los Angeles County‘s total.


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