LACo Health Director Warns Rising Virus Numbers, Pleas For Compliance

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - With the numbers of people hospitalized due to coronavirus rising and the rate of positive tests increasing, Los Angeles County's public health director warned today if people and businesses don't adhere to safety mandates, it could stall or even reverse efforts to reopen the economy.

“When we look at the actions of businesses and individuals with our recovery indicators, it shows how well we're doing on slowing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining our capacity for caring for people who become ill, and based on this information, we are concerned,'' Barbara Ferrer told reporters.

“We're concerned not only for the people who are out and who are not wearing their face coverings or keeping their distance from others, but we're also concerned for the people that may unknowingly infect their parents, their grandparents, their friends and their family who have underlying health conditions and who are at greater risk for serious illness and death.''

She said if businesses don't adhere to protocols for reopening and residents fail to take precautionary measures, “our recovery journey will look very different than what we hoped.''

“All of us want to continue to reopen, and it's important to note that the health of our community ... depends on the actions each of us are taking,'' she said. “We do have control of what happens here. So please do what's right to help each other.''

Ferrer said that over the course of three recent weekends after restaurants -- and now 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. The extent of non-compliance likely varied widely, but exact details weren't available.

Ferrer said that over the past two months, the largest percentage of complaints the Department of Public Health received about restaurants and other businesses were violations of the requirement that safety protocols be publicly posted at each establishment and distributed to employees. The second most common complaint was people not wearing face coverings.

“And though this represents a smaller portion (of the complaints) this month than May, it's still a significant concern,'' Ferrer said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday warned again that hospitalizations were continuing to climb statewide, up roughly 30% over the past two weeks. Los Angeles County's hospitalization numbers were also climbing, Ferrer said. Although Thursday's statistics were not immediately available, she estimated that the number was likely over 1,600, continuing a rise that has been seen throughout the week. On Wednesday, the number was 1,556.

“This is extraordinarily worrisome, as it does reflect the result of more community transmission of COVID-19,'' Ferrer said. “People are out more. There's more people becoming infected and unfortunately increased cases will always lead us to more hospitalizations.''

Ferrer said the rate of people testing positive for the illness has also been increasing, with the seven-day daily average now at about 8.4% -- a point it hadn't reached since April. The county's overall positivity rate is still around 8%.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County reported 1,260 new cases, while Long Beach announced 132 and Pasadena added 11, lifting the overall county total to 89,633.

The county also reported another 33 deaths from the virus Wednesday, while Long Beach and Pasadena officials each announced one additional death. The new deaths increased the countywide total to 3,207.

Thursday's case figures were not immediately available, but were expected to be released shortly.

Photo: Getty Images

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