LACo Health Director Warns of Rising Virus Numbers

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County's public health director warns that if people and businesses don't adhere to safety mandates, it could stall or even reverse efforts to reopen the economy.

Her warning comes at a time when the numbers of people hospitalized due to coronavirus are rising and the rate of positive tests increasing.

“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 Thursday.

“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. As of Thursday, more than 1,600 people were hospitalized, up from 1,556 on Wednesday.

“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 Thursday, Los Angeles County reported another 1,869 cases, while Long Beach announced 104 and Pasadena added 6, lifting the overall county total to 91,577.

The county also reported another 40 deaths from the virus, while Long Beach announced one additional fatality. The new deaths increased the countywide total to 3,247.

Photos: Getty Images

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