“We’re still headed in the wrong direction,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at his Friday new conference. “This week we had three record days of new cases,” noted the mayor. “This is an extremely dangerous situation.”
Garcetti then announced the county had seen 62 new deaths related to coronavirus and 2,885 new cases of COVID-19.
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That brings the total number of deaths from coronavirus in the region to more than 4,000 since the pandemic erupted. The number of cases identified in Los Angeles County is now over 150,000, which equates to over one percent of the county’s population.
Testing results are available for over 1,465,000 residents.
To date, Public Health officials have identified a total of 4,047 deaths.
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) July 18, 2020
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 hit a new high for a third out of the past 4 days, with 2,188 reported on Friday. Garcetti reported that 624 hospital beds remain available in the county, with county data continuing to show younger people between the ages of 18 and 40 years old being hospitalized at a higher rate than seen at any other point in this pandemic.
The mayor made a point of saying the county is critically low on ICU beds, with only 102 extant. “We’re on the brink of going to double digits — dropping down to double digits of our ICU beds available — for the first time since I’ve been giving these reports,” said the Mayor.
That ICU bed count conflicts with data released by the county yesterday showing that there is currently a 3-day average of 1389 available ICU beds out of a total of about 4800. Deadline has reached out to county officials for an explanation.
The number of tests coming back positive in the region is now 9.5 percent, up from 9 percent on Monday. The 7-day average of positivity is now a whopping 13.6 percent, said Garcetti.
While the city and county followed the state on Monday closing indoor dining, gyms and other businesses, “Today, we’re holding off on any additional closures,” he said. But “we still remain there on the edge.”
Garcetti said there was some good news on Friday.
“We are investing an additional $10 million this evening,” he said for a COVID relief fund. That money will be coupled with an additional $3 million to fund grants to “small businesses and non-profits that were the lifeblood of our economy.”
Starting on Monday the Mayor said he would be sending out dozens of “business ambassadors” next week to check on businesses that have been reported in non-compliance. The mayor said there have been over 500 such reports recently.
“Let’s get this right,” said Garcetti. “Let’s make this count.”
At his Friday news conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list to shut down school campuses this fall, at least to begin the school year. The 32 counties on the list — which include Los Angeles and most of Southern California — must switch to virtual instruction only. The state’s two largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, had already announced plans to begin the new academic year with online-only courses.
The mandate applies to private as well as public schools, according to Newsom.
The Los Angeles County indicated shortly thereafter that it would follow the new state guidelines on school closures.
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) July 17, 2020
In order to physically reopen schools, counties will have to meet the state’s attestation requirements. Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Riverside counties are on the watch list.
On Thursday, Los Angeles County saw record numbers of both new cases and hospitalizations, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirming 59 new deaths and 4,592 new cases of COVID-19. That surpassed the count from just two days before of 4,244 new cases. There have been 7,350 new cases over the last 48 hours.
COVID-related hospitalizations also hit a record high of 2,173 people Thursday. That surpasses the old record of 2,103 people hospitalized, which also was set on Tuesday.
That means L.A. has set records for new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on two out of the past four days.