LOS ANGELES – New coronavirus cases and the number of people hospitalized with the virus continued to inch upward in Los Angeles County heading into the holiday weekend, raising fears about the rate of community spread as officials struggle to enforce health restrictions.
Fifty-five additional deaths due to the coronavirus were reported in the county Thursday, along with 2,204 newly confirmed cases — the fifth consecutive day that new cases exceeded 2,000.
To date, Public Health has reported 107,667 coronavirus cases and 3,454 deaths in all areas of LA County, including 1,322 cases and 20 deaths in Palmdale; 1,159 cases and 19 deaths in Lancaster; 64 cases and nine deaths in Quartz Hill;62 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 62 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 53 cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
The county’s health department is not expecting to report any new data Friday and possibly not until Monday so officials can improve the data processing systems. The improvements are beginning earlier than expected, and there is no reason to suspect previous data was inaccurate, Jesus Ruiz, spokesman for the county’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center, told City News Service on Friday.
Full data on case counts will continue to be collected.
The county’s coronavirus totals as of Friday stood at 107,792 cases and 3,457 deaths.
The overall percentage of people testing positive for the virus in the county remained at about 9%. County health officials said Wednesday that the daily average of positive tests over the past seven days was 8.4%, up from about 5.8% two weeks ago.
Newsom said positivity rates also continued to increase statewide, with the daily average over the past 14 days up to 6.3%, representing a roughly 37% increase over the past two weeks. The state’s seven-day average daily positivity rate was 6.9% as of Thursday, Newsom said.
Los Angeles County on Wednesday issued a revised health order to come into compliance with requirements announced earlier in the day by Newsom. The governor ordered the closure of many indoor business operations, most notably eliminating indoor dine-in service at restaurants.
Those restrictions will be in effect for at least three weeks, Newsom said.
Los Angeles County had already ordered the closure of all beaches for the Fourth of July weekend, along with the cancellation of all fireworks displays. All bars in the county were closed by a governor’s order on Sunday.
With the Fourth of July weekend ahead, health officials said they were increasingly concerned about people gathering for parties or family gatherings with people outside their own households, threatening to lead to even more infections.
“We’re really at a pivotal point,” public health director Barbara Ferrer said. “If we can’t find a way collectively to sort of minimize our exposure to multiple different family units, multiple different units of people that we’re now back at work with, we will continue to see the rise in cases. We’ve got to do something right now to sort of get us back to a more level ground.”
County officials issued a series of pleas Thursday for residents to avoid public gatherings over the Fourth of July holiday, including get-togethers with extended family.
“Stay safe by staying at home this holiday weekend,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement. “Let’s ensure our healthcare system can meet the demand from this pandemic, as well as treat patients with cancer, diabetes, and other pre-existing conditions. We are asking everyone to make collective sacrifices for the greater good by avoiding crowds, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a face mask this holiday weekend.”