California and L.A. County are breaking coronavirus records faster than projected

A crowd of people in face coverings clap and hold up phones at an outdoor news conference
Business owners and supporters listen to a news conference held by the California Coalition for Safe Reopening at the Abbey last month in West Hollywood, where the coalition spoke against looming business shutdowns due to the pandemic.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

California and Los Angeles County continued to break COVID-19 pandemic records on a startling scale as much of the state was headed to a new stay-at-home order.

The deterioration is even worse than some of the projections released this week.

On Saturday, officials announced that Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley would join several counties in the San Francisco Bay Area in implementing a new stay-at-home order beginning Sunday night, with hospitals’ available intensive care unit capacity reaching critically low levels.

L.A. County has broken single-day coronavirus case records in four of the last five days this week. On Saturday, at least 9,218 cases were reported, according to preliminary numbers compiled in The Times’ independent tally, exceeding a record set Friday, when 8,562 cases were reported. The single-day record was also broken Thursday, when 7,713 cases were reported.


The numbers mean that coronavirus cases in L.A. County are increasing at a pace that’s even more dire than what officials had forecast earlier in the week. On Tuesday, The Times reported that L.A. County officials projected the region would be seeing 9,000 cases a day by the middle to end of the week of Dec. 7. The county crossed that threshold Saturday.

L.A. County is now averaging nearly 7,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week — more than quadruple the pace from a month ago, when the county averaged about 1,500 new coronavirus cases a day in the week that ended Nov. 5.

With at least 43 new COVID-19 deaths recorded in Saturday, L.A. County is now averaging 38 deaths a day, a pace not seen since late July, during the region’s previous peak.

Cumulatively, L.A. County has reported more than 440,000 coronavirus cases and more than 7,880 deaths.

L.A. County hit its sixth consecutive daily record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 2,855 people hospitalized in data released Saturday; that’s quadruple the number Oct. 17, when 722 people were in hospitals with coronavirus infections.

Of those currently hospitalized in the county, 666 are in ICUs, a sum higher than at any point in the pandemic. L.A. County’s ICU numbers have tripled since Oct. 17, when 197 were in ICUs, and have hit new highs on the last three days.


California has set new highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations for seven consecutive days, with 9,430 in hospitals Saturday — that’s more than quadruple the number Oct. 24, when 2,254 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals.

California’s intensive care units have never been busier with COVID-19 patients, with 2,182 in ICUs on Saturday, the third consecutive day the record has been broken. During the summer surge, the number never went above 2,058.

The state set a record Friday for coronavirus cases reported in a single day.

A county-by-county tally by The Times found that more than 22,300 coronavirus cases were reported across California on Friday, exceeding the record set Monday, when 21,848 cases were reported. The Times tallied 204 deaths reported Friday, the second-highest daily total recorded in the pandemic. On Saturday, according to The Times’ count, the state recorded at least 20,091 cases and 78 deaths.

California is now recording an average of 100 COVID-19 deaths a day over the last week, a pace not seen since September. The state averaged 39 deaths a day over the seven-day period ending Nov. 3.


Over the last week, the state has averaged more than 17,800 new cases a day, according to data compiled by The Times. That’s quadruple the Nov. 3 average and dwarfs even the darkest days of the summertime surge, when the rolling average never topped 10,000. California now has recorded a total of more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and a death toll of more than 19,800.

As of Friday, the rate at which coronavirus test results came back positive over the last week was 8.5%, more than triple what it was in early October.

Times staff writer Luke Money contributed to this report.