Los Angeles County reported 4,272 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, a day after a staggering rise of 5,031 cases, as authorities warned stricter measures could be on the way to control the spread of the virus.
“I want to underscore how serious our situation is,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the county public health department, said at a Friday afternoon media briefing.
She said case rates between Oct. 28 and Nov. 10 increased by 68%, a higher rate than even the peak officials saw in July and August.
The county has said that if daily cases continue at these levels, they would enact stricter measures—including a blanket stay-at-home order for all nonessential workers—as soon as this Sunday.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a month-long curfew on nonessential activity between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for Los Angeles and other counties where the virus is considered widespread.
The county also enacted stricter rules for nonessential businesses starting today, including limiting capacity in outdoor dining settings to 50% and limiting capacity at indoor retail stores to 25%.
All nonessential businesses will also be closed for service between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Delivery, takeout and pickup is still allowed after 10 p.m.
Personal gatherings in LA County are also restricted to outdoors with fewer than 15 people from no more than three households.
County officials said if the five-day average of cases in the county becomes 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars would be prohibited altogether. These businesses would only be able to offer pick-up and delivery.
If the five-day average of cases in the county becomes 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, then a stay-at-home order similar to that issued in March would be instituted for three weeks. The order would only allow essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.
LA County reported 1,298 hospitalizations on Friday.
Long Beach, which has its own health department and can diverge from the county in its health orders, has not said whether it would follow suit if even stricter measures are put into place. Currently, they’ve put in restrictions similar to LA County’s including the new occupancy limits at businesses and a rule that tables at restaurants be placed at least 8 feet apart—not 6.
In a statement Thursday night, city officials said they are “prepared to respond and implement changes to the health order, in accordance with State and County guidelines, as needed to address the current surge in cases and ensure the safety of the community.”
The city this week reported 827 new cases, nearly double that of the prior week—though because city workers are furloughed every other Friday, the city hasn’t made it clear whether this week’s total includes Friday, Nov. 13.