LOS ANGELES – On a day that saw the governor order a renewed round of business restrictions due to spiking coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County’s public health director said Monday the pandemic is on an “alarming” path locally, but widespread adherence to infection-control measures can again slow the virus’ spread.
“I know this step back in our recovery journey is disheartening, but we must do everything in our power to stop the virus from spreading, from making the people we love sick and from causing untimely deaths,” Barbara Ferrer said. “These steps are taken in hopes that we get back to slowing the spread. All of our actions and behaviors now help determine what our lives, our communities and our economy will be like in the months ahead.”
Ferrer said the pace of key metrics — including increases in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and positivity rates — “is pointing to an alarming trend.”
“Our data shows us that every day, thousands of people in our communities are being infected with COVID-19 and our friends, families and neighbors are being hospitalized at a much higher rate,” she said. “While our death rate has remained relatively stable, we anticipate that unfortunately with the rise in hospitalizations we will soon see corresponding increases in the number of people who pass away.”
Ferrer on Monday reported a relatively small increase in the number of deaths in the county from coronavirus — 13 — but she also reported another 2,593 confirmed cases.
To date (July 13), Public Health has identified 136,129 positive cases of COVID-19 and 3,822 deaths across all areas of LA County, including 1,707 coronavirus cases and 23 deaths in Palmdale; 1,479 cases and 21 deaths in Lancaster; 88 cases and nine deaths in Quartz Hill; 89 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 79 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 69 cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
Most recent figures showed that more than 2,000 people were hospitalized in the county due to the coronavirus, among the highest number of the pandemic to date.
The county’s overall rate of people testing positive remained at about 9% overall during the pandemic, but as of Sunday, the average daily positivity rate over the past seven days was at 10%.
Ferrer, trying to break down the recent spike in cases, displayed a charge showing that workplaces that have been allowed to reopen in recent weeks are the primary source of infections, including businesses such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, nail services, distribution centers, waste management and retail.
“What this tells us is clear, that business owners and operators must take their employee health needs seriously and they must heed the public health directives, because as we’ve reopened, we’ve seen the sharpest increase in workplace outbreaks,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer tried to offer some encouragement to residents, saying if they do their part to control the spread of the virus by adhering to social-distancing requirements, wearing face coverings and avoiding large gatherings, the virus can be slowed again.
“I know that today’s news is disappointing,” she said. “… I just want to note that we flattened the curve before and I know we can do it again. Stay at home as much as you can. If you do need to go out for work or important errands, please remember that you must wear your face covering and it must cover both your mouth and your nose.
“… If we continue to make these adjustments, which we’ve all done before, we will start seeing I believe a decrease in the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Ferrer said. “That means in creating this new normal, we actually are allowed to continue our recovery journey. But it is truly a community effort. We have the power to slow the devastating spread of the virus if we all decide we want to do our part.”