Los Angeles County health officials reported 15,413 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths linked to the virus in its latest data over the three-day Fourth of July weekend.
The county Department of Public Health reported 5,865 cases for Saturday, 6,020 cases for Sunday and 3,528 cases for Monday. Ten of the fatalities were reported for Saturday, five for Sunday and three for Monday.
The latest figures bring the county’s cumulative totals to 3,140,615 cases and 32,361 deaths since the pandemic began. A majority of the deaths occurred in people with at least one underlying health condition, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. The county’s daily test positivity rate, on a seven-day average, was 13.7% as of Monday, up from 12.2% last Tuesday. The latest hospitalization numbers were unavailable due to delays in reports from the state health department, but as of Saturday there were 810 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, with 91 being treated in intensive care.
Amid the rising transmission and elevated hospitalization numbers, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer had urged caution against the spread of COVID-19 during the Fourth of July, when many people are likely to attend parties or large gatherings.
“Given the rising number of COVID cases and hospitalizations, and the increased circulation of the more infectious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, it is extra important to take steps that reduce the risk of transmission especially over the long holiday weekend,” Ferrer said last week. “… Please be sure to remind friends and family to stay home and skip the celebration if they feel sick or have tested positive,” she said. “It is also a great idea for everyone to test themselves before getting together, ideally on the day of the gathering. It is always best to celebrate outdoors, and if people come indoors for part of the gathering, wearing a mask is advisable, particularly if there are individuals at high risk of severe illness should they become infected.”
Ferrer on Thursday noted an uptick in infections related to workplaces, and urged employers to implement infection-control measures in indoor spaces, such as masking and maintaining physical distancing in communal areas. She said one sector in particular — the TV and film industry — has already re-imposed an indoor mask mandate now that the county’s hospitalization rate has reached more than 8 per 100,000 residents.
Ferrer said that given the continued high level of virus transmission in the county — particularly with more rapid spread of the highly transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 variants — people should already be masking up indoors. Because masks are not mandatory, “people are not, I think, heeding our request that people do put those masks back on indoors right now,” Ferrer said.
She said the evidence is “crystal clear” that masking, particularly with a higher-grade N95 or KN95 mask, works to prevent spread of the virus.