LOS ANGELES – For the third time in four days, Los Angeles County set another record Friday for new COVID-19 cases, with nearly 9,000 infections confirmed, while hospitalizations continued rising at record levels and deaths spiked to a level not seen in months.
The county reported 8,860 new coronavirus infections on Friday, shattering the daily record of 7,854 set on Thursday. The number of people hospitalized stood at 2,668, the highest point of the entire pandemic.
Health officials also announced 60 new deaths, continuing an upward trend that began in late November. Two weeks ago, the county’s average number of daily deaths was 21.
“Los Angeles County continues to experience a pandemic that is moving in a direction that will cause significantly more suffering and deaths,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “As case numbers and hospitalizations continue to rapidly increase, the number of individuals who will experience severe health outcomes will also increase.
“The best thing to do right now and in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Ferrer said. “Encourage your family and friends to stay connected virtually and delay meeting in person until we are at a better place in the pandemic. Collectively, we have a chance to slow the spread and save lives.”
The 8,860 new cases reported by the county, along with 148 announced by Long Beach and 93 by Pasadena, lifted the countywide cumulative total since the start of the infection to 430,824. The 60 new deaths, and one additional fatality announced by Pasadena, lifted the overall total to 7,843.
Since the pandemic began, public health officials have identified 8,393 coronavirus cases and 84 deaths in Palmdale; 6,939 cases and 77 deaths in Lancaster; 379 cases and 14 deaths in Quartz Hill; 492 cases and four deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 346 cases and one death in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 289 cases and three deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here by city and demographics here.
Los Angeles County and the rest of Southern California are on the verge of falling under a state-mandated “regional stay-at-home” order that will be triggered if intensive-care unit bed availability falls below 15%.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the Southern California region could meet that trigger within days. The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
When triggered, the stay-at-home order will be in place for three weeks and will bar gatherings of people from different households. Under the order, the following businesses/recreational facilities will be forced to close:
— indoor and outdoor playgrounds;
— indoor recreational facilities;
— hair salons and barbershops;
— personal care services;
— museums, zoos, and aquariums;
— movie theaters;
— bars, breweries and distilleries;
— family entertainment centers;
— cardrooms and satellite wagering;
— limited services;
— live audience sports; and
— amusement parks.
Schools with waivers will be allowed to remain open, along with “critical infrastructure” and retail stores, which will be limited to 20% of capacity. Restaurants will be restricted to takeout and delivery service only. Hotels would be allowed to open “for critical infrastructure support only,” while churches would be restricted to outdoor only services. Some of those restrictions are already in effect in Los Angeles County.
Newsom said the order is “fundamentally predicated on the need to stop gathering with people outside of your household, to do what you can to keep most of your activities outside and, of course, always … wear face coverings, wear a mask.”
Newsom also noted that the state still has a travel advisory in place recommending against non-essential travel and urging people to quarantine when they return to the state. When the regional stay-at-home order is triggered, it will strongly urge residents to cancel any non-essential travel.