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L.A. County reports 2,318 more coronavirus cases, 25 additional deaths

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti updates residents during a media briefing as coronavirus cases in the county surge.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti updates residents during a media briefing as coronavirus cases in the county surge.
(City of Los Angeles)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned residents Tuesday that the next two weeks will be crucial in determining whether the current surge in coronavirus cases will be temporary or push into the holiday season.

There were 25 more deaths and 2,318 additional coronavirus cases recorded Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The surge in cases ensures that Los Angeles will remain in the most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening system.

Five of the six indicators — including seven-day positivity rate, hospitalizations and acute care bed capacity — that health officials track for reopening plans are headed in the wrong direction, Garcetti said. Hospitalizations have also increased to almost 900, with 28% of those patients being treated in the intensive care unit, according to county public health officials.

For the first time, Los Angeles residents received an emergency text alert from the city Tuesday evening warning them that cases are increasing. Garcetti said the text alert is a reminder that testing is available.

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“It’s going to go to everybody,” he said of the alert. “It doesn’t mean you have symptoms. It’s a reminder that if you do have symptoms or know somebody, please make sure you get tested.”

He added that the warning and increasing numbers of cases “should be a bright flashing light to all of us to control our behavior.”

Based on information gathered through contact tracing, 10% of those who tested positive in the last week had been to a gathering with more than 10 people, Garcetti said.

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“I want to be very clear,” he said. “If you’re hosting gatherings at your house ... you may be spreading the virus.”

Garcetti said Pfizer’s estimate that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective is promising, and the county will continue to watch closely as the vaccine is reviewed by federal regulators. If the vaccine is approved, only a small fraction of Angelenos will have access to it, he said.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer echoed Garcetti’s optimism, but pleaded with residents in a statement Tuesday to “stay the course.”

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“It is promising to hear the news of COVID-19 vaccine possibilities in the near future,” she said. “However, we cannot wait for a vaccine to slow the spread of COVID-19 in L.A. County. Every person needs to make personal decisions each day to use the tools we know work.”

In the meantime, Garcetti said testing centers across Los Angeles will have extended hours and the city will be able to test 32,400 people a day. Several testing sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Dodger Stadium will open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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