L.A. County cautions holiday vigilance as COVID-19 case numbers rise in other states

People eat at several tables spaced out in front of Fleming's restaurant entrance
Guests dine outside Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Woodland Hills in July.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging people to remain vigilant in observing coronavirus protocols when traveling or socializing during the spring holidays, cautioning that other states are seeing a rise in cases.

The county reported 538 new coronavirus cases and one related death on Sunday. There are 669 people in the county hospitalized with COVID-19; 25% of them are in intensive care.

The figures reflect an undercount due to delays from reporting over the weekend. There were 692 COVID-19 patients in hospitals Friday, a decline of about 30% from two weeks before, county officials reported.

Passover began Saturday, and Easter is in one week, prompting health officials to urge the public to take precautions when meeting with others.

Indoor gatherings of up to three separate households are permitted by public health rules, provided people are wearing masks and distancing if any aren’t fully vaccinated. But even small parties and reunions carry risk, officials said.


Although California’s numbers continue to decline, health officials are concerned about an uptick in COVID-19 cases in several states, including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.

“We are so close, perhaps only several months away from having enough people vaccinated to accelerate our reopening without adverse effects,” Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County public health director, said Saturday in a statement. “However, we remain quite concerned with reports of rising cases of COVID and hospitalizations in a growing number of states. We know the virus does not respect borders.”

Orange County saw 119 new cases and 14 deaths Sunday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Hospitalization numbers fell from 170 on Saturday to 156 on Sunday.

City News Service and Times staff writer Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.