LOS ANGELES – More than 20 new deaths from the coronavirus were reported Friday in Los Angeles County, along with 1,633 additional cases of the virus.
To date (June 12), the Los Angeles Public Health Department has identified 70,476 positive cases and 2,832 deaths across all areas of LA County, including 879 cases and 20 deaths in Palmdale; 734 cases and 12 deaths in Lancaster; 48 cases and nine deaths in Quartz Hill; 32 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 43 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 24 cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
County health officials this week noted that the rate of spread of COVID-19 was inching higher, potentially threatening the availability of intensive care unit hospital beds within two to four weeks.
The concerns, however, didn’t stop the county from moving forward with its new health order, which as of Friday morning allowed the opening of:
— gyms and fitness centers;
— professional sports venues without live audiences;
— day camps;
— museums and galleries;
— zoos and aquariums;
— campgrounds and RV parks;
— outdoor recreation such as swimming pools;
— music, film and television production; and
— hotels for leisure travel.
Movie theaters are not included in the new order, even though the state has released protocols allowing them to reopen if individual counties approve.
For businesses and attractions that do reopen, restrictions will have to be enforced, including face coverings and social distancing and rigorous cleaning and sanitation regimens.
Just because the county has cleared the businesses to reopen does not mean all of them automatically will. Of the people who have died from the virus, 93% had underlying health conditions, a percentage that has remained largely unchanged throughout the pandemic.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer stressed that the reopening of more business sectors should not be seen as an indication the county is out of the woods in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, noting, “We’re still in the middle of the woods and we have a lot of risk.”
Ferrer said it will remain important for residents to adhere to the health restrictions when visiting any reopened business, and for the businesses themselves to enforce them.
Highlighting the need for such precautions, health officials confirmed there has been a slight uptick in the rate of the virus’ spread in the county. At the height of the pandemic, people infected with COVID-19 transmitted the virus to an average of three other people. Under strict stay-at- home orders and business closures, that number fell to below one.
But in the weeks since businesses have been allowed to reopen and more people have been mingling in the community, that infection rate has now risen above one. The county’s medical services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, said the county has enough hospital beds to handle an increase in cases, but the higher infection rate could lead to a shortage of intensive-care beds within two to four weeks.
Ghaly said the county’s modeling predicts “the spread of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles County area is likely to increase gradually over time.” She stressed that the predictions are based solely on actual hospitalization numbers, not on the increasing numbers of people who are leaving their homes and interacting with the public at newly opened businesses or — more recently – – massive protests against police brutality.
An interactive dashboard is available that provides comprehensive information on COVID-19 cases, along with maps and graphs showing data by city and community. To view Public Health’s COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, visit: http://dashboard.publichealth.lacounty.gov/covid19_surveillance_dashboard/