Los Angeles County health officials on Saturday confirmed 2,916 new coronavirus cases and 57 more related deaths, as the region struggles with a surge of cases in the ongoing pandemic.
There are more than 2,000 people hospitalized with the virus, with 27% of those confirmed cases in intensive care and 18% on ventilators, officials said. It’s a significant increase from the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen a month ago, according to the county Health Department.
L.A. County has identified 130,242 positive cases of the virus and seen a total of 3,793 related deaths. Officials have warned of the potential for exceeding hospital capacity if stricken patients have to start competing with others for a bed.
“For those of you mourning the loss of a loved one from COVID-19, your community mourns with you,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “We must work together to get back to being able to slow the spread. Unless we can do this, our recovery journey is in jeopardy.”
As of Saturday, the total number of coronavirus cases reported statewide stood at 316,928, with 7,016 related deaths, according to health officials.
Los Angeles is on the state’s list of counties being monitored for their rising case counts and increased hospitalizations. If counties remain on the list for three or more consecutive days, the state will require them to close bars and indoor dining in restaurants, along with most other indoor business operations, for at least three weeks. L.A. County reopened restaurants for in-person dining on May 29 and allowed bars to reopen on June 19. Its bars were ordered shut again on June 28, and indoor dining rooms on July 1.
During a Friday briefing, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti reminded Angelenos that socializing and gathering with people outside of their households is still not allowed. He warned — as he did earlier this week — that the city could reimpose a mandatory stay-at-home order should the risk of infection worsen.
“We’re not back to a safer at home order, but we all need to do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Twenty thousand people were tested at city and county testing sites Friday, Garcetti said. To meet surging demand, city testing capacity will increase by 25% next week. More than 1 million people have now been tested by the city and county, he said.
The coronavirus surged across California with the reopening of the economy last month, with people beginning to socialize again in ways that allowed the virus to spread rapidly across communities. A survey by USC this week found L.A. County residents are increasingly concerned that California is lifting restrictions on public activity too quickly. Though 75% of survey respondents expressed such worry in early May, 79% did so in mid-June.