Following an unsettling four-day increase in daily coronavirus case numbers, Los Angeles County’s public health director said Monday officials will be closely monitoring data this week to see if the region is beginning to see a feared post-Labor Day spike.
Daily numbers reported over the last four days of last week showed a rise in COVID-19 cases, Barbara Ferrer noted. The numbers showed a standard drop over the weekend, the result of reduced testing and a lag in reporting of weekend results. But the numbers from late last week were cause for concern.
“We are looking every day at the data to see whether we have an indication that we are going to see a surge in the number of cases, which would be the first place we would see an increase related to how we all behaved with each other over the Labor Day holiday,” Ferrer said. “And as I just noted, we do have four days of data from last week which showed a significant increase in the number of cases.”
She said the county will be closely monitoring cases the rest of this week, noting that a rise in cases is traditionally followed by more dire consequences.
“After you see the increase in cases, that’s when another week or two later you start seeing the increase in hospitalization and that often is followed by, unfortunately, an increase in deaths,” Ferrer said. “I want to be cautiously optimistic, but we did have four days of data last week that showed increases in cases, so we’re going to have to pay a lot of attention to the data this week.”
An increase in cases would be a blow to hopes of the county moving into a less restrictive tier of the state’s four-tier coronavirus economic- recovery matrix. The county is currently in the most restrictive, or purple, tier of the chart, which is based on the testing-positivity rates and average daily new case numbers.
To move into the next tier, the red tier, the county would need to maintain a daily average of about 700 new cases or less for two straight weeks.
On Monday, Ferrer reported 652 new cases, noting again that figures reported on Sundays and Mondays tend to be misleadingly low due to drops in weekend testing and reporting of results. Long Beach health officials reported 47 additional cases Monday afternoon, while Pasadena health officials added eight more.
The new cases lifted the countywide cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 261,501.
She also reported another 16 coronavirus-related deaths, while Pasadena reported one additional fatality, increasing the countywide toll to 6,366.
As of Monday, there were 749 people hospitalized with the virus. That number has been on a steady decline for more than a month.
Also as of Monday, more than 2.5 million people have been tested in Los Angeles County, and the overall positivity rate — which had been holding steady at about 10% for months — dropped to 9%. Ferrer said that drop reflects the more recent positivity rate, which “has been declining for the past six weeks.”
According to the county’s website, the most recent seven-day average of testing results put the current positivity rate at about 3%.
As of today, the number of confirmed infections in West Hollywood has increased by one to a total of 549. The number of people in West Hollywood who have died of COVID-19 related illnesses as of today is five.
In Beverly Hills, the number of confirmed has increased by two to 667. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Beverly Hills as of today was 12. The number of COVID-19 infection confirmed among Culver City residents remains at 383. The number of deaths as of today remains at 29. The Health Department reports one newly confirmed infections in Hollywood, bringing its total to 1,172. The number of deaths remains at14. The Melrose neighborhoods latest count is up by five to 1,872. The number of COVID-19 related deaths remains at 70.
Public Health has a dedicated call line for confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you are positive for COVID-19 and have not yet connected with a public health specialist or need more information on services, call toll-free at 1 (833) 540-0473. Residents who do not have COVID-19 can continue to call 211 for resources or more information.
One way the virus can be transmitted is through a cough, a sneeze or even through air that comes from the mouth when someone talks. For that reason, residents must wear face coverings when out in public and can be cited for not doing so. The citations come with a $250 fine and a $50 administrative fee.
West Hollywood residents with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic or who are looking for resources to deal with it can find answers on the City of West Hollywood’s website. Here is a list of links to sections about particular subjects and issues: