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L.A. County sees no post-Labor Day spike in coronavirus numbers

A couple in masks walk down Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles.
A couple walk down Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Nearly two weeks after the Labor Day holiday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it had not seen a surge in coronavirus cases associated with the end-of-summer weekend.

In a statement released Saturday, the agency reported an average of 1,074 new daily cases for the week ending Sept. 25, compared with 1,176 for the week ending Sept. 5.

Health officials cautioned that it could still see an increase in cases associated with barbecues and other weekend gatherings, which have been known to facilitate the spread of the virus.

They said, however, it was unlikely that the county would experience the same kind of spike that occurred after Memorial Day and July Fourth.

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In other good news, Barbara Ferrer, director of the Public Health department, says that a surge in cases is not inevitable in L.A. County as we move into fall.

“I am convinced by our recent data and the actions taken by many,” she said, “that we can do what is essential to slow the spread.”

The county reported 18 new deaths Saturday and 1,236 new confirmed cases.

Residents of Orange County also have reason to be hopeful.

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The county’s overall COVID-19 case positivity rate has dropped from 3.9% one week ago to 3.1%, and the daily case count per 100,000 people dropped from 4.7 to 3.6, according to the health department.

If those numbers hold, the county will move from the red tier to the orange tier of the system set up by the state to slow the spread of the virus.

Moving into the orange tier means retail businesses and shopping malls could operate at full capacity, and that churches, restaurants, movie theaters and zoos can increase their capacity from 25% to 50%.

Orange County Supervisor Linda Bartlett expressed concern, however, that students returning to the UC Irvine campus this week could lead to a spike in new cases.

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“You’re going to get students from other counties, other states and other countries,” she said. “Even with a robust testing program, we saw firsthand what happened at San Diego State.”

Move-in week began Tuesday at UC Irvine and continues through next Tuesday.

Orange County reported 165 new cases and 10 more deaths Saturday.

Many regions across the state have seen a slight increase in the rate of cases per 100,000 residents, and COVID-19-related emergency room visits have trended upward over the last week in virtually all areas of the state, officials said.


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