Los Angeles County health officials on Saturday reported 3,628 new COVID-19 cases and 53 related deaths, high numbers that in part reflect reporting delays in the state’s electronic laboratory system.
The total number of cases in the county now stands at 172,325, with a cumulative 4,351 deaths, officials said in a statement. There have been 446,148 confirmed cases in California, and 8,406 people have died statewide.
The majority of new positive cases in L.A. County are occurring in people under the age of 50, officials said.
Also Saturday, officials reported 2,016 confirmed COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, with 30% of those in intensive care. But they said those figures were incomplete because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had changed reporting requirements, resulting in data from eight hospitals being left out.
As the surge in cases continues, health officials have increased their efforts to persuade people to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and adhering to social distancing. The county has ordered the closure of indoor operations at restaurants, houses of worship, gyms, museums, hair salons, barbershops and personal care services.
“I know these are frustrating times and that we want life to return to normal. We want to join our friends for dinner inside a restaurant and gather with extended family for a summer barbecue,” said L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. “Unfortunately, we just are not at a point where those activities are safe.”
On Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, likened the current surge in cases in California, Texas and Florida to “three New Yorks,” referring to the previous epicenter of the nation’s COVID-19 crisis.
She said the increase has been driven by people in their 20s and 30s who didn’t have symptoms and were unknowingly spreading the virus.
Brix, who spoke in an interview on NBC’s “Today,” also indicated that there may be signs that the virus is plateauing in those three states, along with Arizona, which has also seen a high number of cases.