LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County health officials reported nearly four dozen more deaths due to the coronavirus today and more than 2,600 new cases, and with a hot summer weekend ahead, authorities again urged residents to shun parties and large gatherings.
“Every day, a team of public health specialists investigate clusters of cases associated with parties, dinner events and gatherings,'' public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “None of these activities are essential and all can lead to growing number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.''
The county reported 45 new fatalities, lifting the countywide death toll since the start of the pandemic to 5,214. The 2,642 new cases announced Friday raised the cumulative total to 218,693.
Health officials said Friday's numbers did not include any cases from a state backlog in test results caused by a computer glitch that has since been resolved. However, “a few hundred'' of the new cases were part of a delay in lab reports, authorities said.
As of Friday, there were 1,415 people hospitalized with the virus, continuing a downward trend that has led to cautious optimism that the county is successfully slowing the impact of COVID-19. According to the Department of Public Health, the seven-day rolling average of daily hospitalizations was 1,521 as of Friday, down about 25% from the 2,026 average at the end of July.
“The lower number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations is encouraging, however, we still have far too many people spreading this virus,'' Ferrer said. “... We save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19 when we commit to doing what we know works -- avoid gathering with people that you don't live with, wear a face covering, maintain physical distance and wash hands often.
“Only when we get to low community transmission rates can we reopen our schools and get more people back to work,'' she said.
On Thursday, county health officer Dr. Muntu Davis made a renewed call for business owners to strictly enforce and adhere to all safety protocols. He described several recent business outbreaks, including 84 cases spread across 10 UPS facilities across the county.
Davis also reported an outbreak at Trojan Battery Co. in Santa Fe Springs involving 61 employees in two separate locations, with three hospitalizations and one death. He said the site has been inspected, and while “correctable violations'' were found, none of them warranted closure of the business.
Davis said a total of 77 cases have been reported at the SoFi Stadium construction site in Inglewood. He called that project a “complicated'' work site with 60 subcontractors. According to Davis, out of the 60 subcontractors at the project, 33 of them had at least one coronavirus case, and eight of those involved three or more cases. He said the stadium site is overall in compliance with health orders and officials have “taken the necessary steps that are required of them.''
“We continue to see outbreaks in manufacturing facilities, food processing facilities, the warehouses environments where workers are indoors together for long periods of time and may or may not have adequate personal protective equipment,'' Davis said. “Our outbreaks management branch and environmental health inspector teams have been very busy conducting site visits at various (work sites) across the county to make sure that employers are doing all they can to keep their employees safe.
“We've seen what happens when workplace protections and practices aren't in place -- outbreaks occur and people can die,'' he said.
Davis said workplace outbreaks often have a large impact on lower-income workers and people of color, contributing to the disproportionate numbers of cases and hospitalizations among those communities. He displayed charts showing sharp increases in cases among Latino and Black residents starting in early July, roughly coinciding with wide-ranging business reopenings.
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