LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County has reported 798 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths, bringing the county's totals to 248,334 cases and 6,005 fatalities.
Officials with the county's Department of Public Health said Sunday the low case and deaths counts likely reflect a reporting lag due to the holiday weekend.
The number of people hospitalized in the county continued its steady decline, dropping from 984 Saturday to 966 Sunday. County officials noted that figure is at least a 50% drop from early August totals that topped 2,000.
Testing results were available for 2,373,050 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.
Health officials continue to track the number of positive cases and deaths among health care workers, announcing a total of 87 deaths and 14,448 positive cases among health care workers and first responders in Los Angeles County.
Nurses account for the majority of cases (37%) and deaths (41%) within the sector. One-third of health care workers who tested positive for the virus worked at skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and 26% worked at hospitals.
“Our hearts are with all who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19, and may peace and comfort find each of you during these difficult times,'' Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Our thoughts are also with all the families and friends of health care workers, who worry each day about therisks their loved ones face as they care for our sick and disabled residents.
“ ...Everyone needing care has been served by dedicated and skilled teams of front-line health care workers who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 than most everyone else. This labor day holiday serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to make sure that all health care workers have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), training, and access to quality health care.''
Officials continued urging residents to celebrate the Labor Day holiday safely and without large parties or gatherings, noting that spikes in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were seen after the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays.
The county said beaches will remain open during the holiday, despite concerns about large crowds that might flock to the sand to escape the heat wave expected to continue through Monday. But officials with the county Department of Beaches and Harbors warned that health restrictions remain in place, meaning beachgoers must practice social distancing and wear face coverings when not in the water, eating or drinking.
And if crowds get too large and people aren't adhering to the guidelines, the beaches could be cleared.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of following the public health guidelines,'' Beaches and Harbor Director Gary Jones said in a statement. “It is absolutely imperative that beachgoers avoid crowds. If the beaches get too crowded, we may be forced to close them again.''
County officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the coronavirus setbacks experienced following the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays, which led to dramatic spikes in virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. All three of those metrics have been trending downward in recent weeks in the county, and health officials have been making pleas for the past two weeks that residents avoid Labor Day parties or gatherings with people outside their own households.
Public health officials urged people to only gather with members of their household, and to use their own utensils, cups, food, and drinks and not share with others.
The county Department of Beaches and Harbors also stressed that barbecues and bonfires are prohibited at the beaches and in beach parking lots.
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