LA County, Long Beach COVID-19 cases continue to climb

County officials continued to report “significant increases” in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate today, announcing another 2,169 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths.

The new numbers bring the county’s totals to 95,371 cases and 3,285 fatalities.

According the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, the seven-day average of daily new cases is over 1,900, an increase from the 1,379 average two weeks ago. There are 1,698 people currently hospitalized, which is higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen in recent weeks.

City officials in Long Beach have reported more than 700 new positive cases in just the last five days, bringing the total cases to 3,643. The city has reported 125 deaths, of which 94 are associated with long-term care facilities.

With test results now available for more than one million individuals, 9% are testing positive in the county. The cumulative positivity rate has increased from 8% to 9%, and the seven-day average of the daily positivity rate has increased from 5.8% two weeks ago to 8.6%.

“`We are at a critical moment in our COVID-19 recovery journey,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

She noted that over the last few weeks, businesses and public spaces have reopened, and many more people have been out and around others. With increased contact among non-household members, there are many more opportunities for transmission of COVID-19, particularly if public health directives are not followed, and the data is now showing concerning trends.

“If we can’t find it in us to follow these mandates, including wearing face coverings and distancing when around others, we jeopardize our ability to move forward on the recovery journey,” Ferrer said.

Some officials have attributed the rise in overall cases to increases in testing, but Ferrer said repeatedly in recent days that the higher numbers, combined with rising levels of hospital visits and positivity rates, clearly demonstrate an increase in community spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Health officials said Friday the rise in cases hitting the county’s younger population particularly hard—likely reflecting reopenings of bars and restaurants and participation in this month’s mass demonstrations against police brutality.

Ferrer said Thursday that residents and business owners—most notably bars and restaurants—have a joint responsibility to adhere to health requirements and protocols.

She noted that over the three recent weekends after restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen for dine-in service, county inspectors visited more than 3,700 establishments, and 83% of them were found not to be in full compliance with county protocols for reopening.

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