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L.A. County reports 1,900 more coronavirus cases and 44 additional deaths

Luis Ortiz, a life agent with Continental Funeral Home, releases doves in downtown Los Angeles.
Luis Ortiz, a life agent with Continental Funeral Home, released doves outside the offices of the California Secretary of State in downtown Los Angeles. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would not immediately introduce further closures but urged residents to wear masks.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County, which has carried much of the toll of the statewide surge of the coronavirus, reported more than 1,900 additional cases Friday and 44 new deaths related to the virus.

There are 1,928 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 29% in intensive care, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.

Officials noted that reporting delays from labs contributed to lower numbers reported and that the number of cases is expected to increase in the coming days. So far, L.A. County has identified a total of more than 168,000 cases of the virus and more than 4,300 deaths.

“Even with incomplete case and hospitalization data, we are seeing too much community spread of this virus, which means many of our friends, family and neighbors are sick and suffering,” Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County director of public health, said in a statement. “Wear a face covering, don’t gather with people you don’t live with and stay home as much as possible. The health of our community truly is a collective effort.”

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This week, health officials said the virus is on track to become the second-leading cause of death in the county. From January to June, COVID-19 killed more than 3,400 people, county officials say. Over the same period last year, only coronary heart disease was attributed as the cause of more deaths.

In a media briefing Friday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would not be immediately introducing any further closures but urged residents to “save our economy by wearing a mask.” For two weeks, Garcetti has warned that the city is close to returning to some type of stay-at-home order due to the case increases.

The city now turns test results around within 23 hours, Garcetti said, noting that more than 100,000 people were tested at city sites this week — 11,000 more than last week.

Experts say that hospitalization and death totals reflect exposure to the virus that occurred weeks ago. It takes time to see how behavioral changes are affecting transmission, and whether steps taken to stem the spread of the disease are working.

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California this week passed New York for more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other state. On Friday, the state reported 9,718 additional cases and 159 new deaths, reaching a total of more than 435,000 cases.

The state has the highest number partly because it is the most populous state but also because millions of residents have been unwilling, or unable, to practice the social distancing and mask-wearing that public health experts say protect against the spread of the virus.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly has said it can take three to five weeks to see the full effect of measures the state has taken recently — including issuing a universal face mask order on June 18 and renewing restrictions on numerous activities and businesses.

Times staff writers Luke Money and Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.


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