West Hollywood recorded nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday while Los Angeles County had a whopping 3,994 new confirmed cases.
West Hollywood now has a cumulative total of 827 cases, while Los Angeles County has recorded 348,536 cases since the pandemic began in March.
The city’s death count remains at eight, but LA County now has seen 7,337 coronavirus deaths since March.
Los Angeles County health officials warned the county is facing “one of the most dangerous moments in this pandemic.” If the daily numbers continue increasing the county likely will move into another Safer at Home order.
As it is, the county will impose these restrictions on Friday (Nov. 20):
- Restaurants, breweries, wineries and non-essential businesses must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Outdoor service at restaurants, wineries and brewers is limited to 50% capacity.
- Indoor service at non-essential businesses such as retail stores and offices is limited to 25% capacity.
- Personal care facilities indoor service is also limited to 25% capacity and customers must have an appointment. Any service requiring a customer to remove a face mask (such as facials or shaves) is prohibited.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 15 people from no more than three households.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s director of health services, stressed that current projections indicate the county will see its highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began in the next four weeks, potentially outpacing hospital capacity.
Driving home the point, public health director Barbara Ferrer walked through statistics showing dramatic increases in the county’s case numbers, testing positivity rates and hospitalizations since early November. Ferrer said the county on Nov. 1 was averaging about 1,100 new cases a day, but that figure increased to almost 2,000 one week later, and as of Wednesday, it had risen to almost 4,000 per day.
“I cannot stress enough how concerning this is,” Ferrer said.
The county’s seven-day average daily positivity rate among those tested for the virus was 3.9% on Nov. 1, but it rose to 5.1% by Nov. 8 and it now stands at 7.1%. Average hospitalizations were 791 on Nov. 1, rising to 1,010 on Nov. 14. On Wednesday, the county reported 1,188 people in the hospital due to the virus, the ninth straight day of increases.
“We face one of the most dangerous moments in this pandemic,” Ferrer said. “And the only effective path forward requires immediate action, and unfortunately, additional sacrifice. When the rate of increase is as high as it is right now, it can be harder to slow the spread. Heading into colder months and the flu season compounds the sense of urgency.”
As of Wednesday, the cumulative county total stood at 348,536 cases, while countywide death toll from the virus stood at 7,337.
While those numbers are disturbing, county health officials are looking to the five-day case average. Day-to-day fluctuations in case numbers or delays in reporting cases can cause some single days to be extremely high or extremely low. So, county officials look at the average of five days to determine trends.
As of Tuesday, the five-day case average was 2,884.
County officials say if the five-day average reaches 4,000 cases or hospitalizations exceed 1,750 per day, it will trigger even tighter restrictions including a shutdown of outdoor service at restaurants, breweries and wineries, but take-out and deliveries will still be allowed.
If that five-day average reaches 4,500 cases or if hospitalizations reach 2,000 a day, it will trigger a new Safer at Home order, like the original one issued in March. This time, the order would include a three-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses, plus a mandatory countywide curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Unlike all other COVID-19 statistics, the county’s rate of coronavirus- related deaths has not yet surged upward. Ferrer attributed that promising fact to improvements in hospital treatment, and the fact that the vast majority of new cases are occurring among younger residents who are less likely to become seriously ill from the virus. But she warned that continued increases in hospitalizations will almost certainly translate to an eventual increase in deaths.
Ghaly warned that an increase in hospitalizations is almost inevitable in the next two weeks, given the virus’ incubation period. And the current trend lines indicate that without a dramatic change in case numbers, area hospitals could find themselves quickly overwhelmed with patients.
“While the steep increase in hospitalizations has only been going on for one week, we cannot ignore the facts,” Ghaly said. “It is highly likely that we will experience the highest rates of hospitalizations that we have seen in the COVID-19 pandemic to date in the next month, unless we take action immediately to substantially reduce transmission within our communities.”
Health officials point squarely at gatherings of residents — either in public or private settings — for driving the recent surge, which has primarily involved younger residents under age 50.
Ferrer said Monday residents between 18-29 have consistently accounted for a larger proportion of new cases over the last two months, dramatically widening the gap over all other age groups. But while younger people are becoming infected more often, it is older residents suffering the consequences in terms of hospitalizations, she said, meaning young people are becoming infected and passing the virus to older residents who are at higher risk of severe illness.
Below are the daily numbers for areas near West Hollywood:
- Beverly Hills – 10 new cases for a total of 863 cases.
- Culver City – 8 new cases for a total of 517 cases.
- Hollywood – 14 new cases for a total of 1,653 cases.
- Melrose neighborhood – 32 new cases for a total of 2,485 cases.
Public Health has a dedicated call line for confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not yet connected with a public health specialist or need more information on services, call toll-free at (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: