With another 50 deaths due to the coronavirus, Los Angeles County’s public health director warned on July 9 that case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalizations are continuing to rise to levels not seen since the onset of the pandemic.
Whether the worsening numbers will prompt a return to tougher Safer At Home orders and business closures remained undetermined, with Barbara Ferrer insisting that while she does not want to see such restrictions imposed again, nothing is off the table.
“Nothing can be off the table in the pandemic,” she said. “There’s too much unknown and there’s lots of things that could happen that could put us in much worse shape, including, you know, some serious mutations of this virus that make it more dangerous. So I would never be the person that’s going to say, ‘absolutely, out of the question, we can never go back to Safer At Home.’
There’s just too much unknown here. There’s a virus, there’s a pandemic. A lot of what happens here also depends on what’s happening in other places around the country, so we shouldn’t really take any tools off the table,” she said. “What I would like to say is, I hope we never have to go back to Safer At Home. I hope we do our job well … all of us do our job well and we get back to what we know we can do, which is slow that curve.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Wednesday that if current infection trends don’t reverse, the area could again find itself facing stricter orders to remain at home.
Ferrer announced another 50 deaths due to the coronavirus Thursday, although one of those deaths was actually reported Wednesday by the city of Long Beach. The new deaths increased the county’s overall death toll from the virus to 3,690.
Pandemic number is 124,992 as reported by the county on July 9.
The average daily percentage of people testing positive for the virus in the county over the past seven days stood at 9.2 percent as of July 9, while the overall positivity rate from throughout the pandemic remained at about 9 percent. The seven-day positivity average remains above the 8.4 percent rate reported about a week ago, but it has slightly dipped in recent days, with the rate topping 11 percent earlier this week.
Most concerning in the figures was the number of people hospitalized due to the virus. As of July 9, 2,037 people were hospitalized, one of the highest, if not the highest, levels of the pandemic. In June, the average number of people hospitalized was averaging about 1,400.
“Our cases are rising, the rate of infection is increasing and the number of hospitalizations are up,” Ferrer said. “These numbers are reminiscent of what we saw months ago at what we thought was going to be the height of the pandemic here in L.A. County.”
She reiterated concerns expressed Wednesday that the increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations could lead to spiking numbers of deaths in the coming weeks.
Ferrer noted that while 93 percent of people who have died from the virus had underlying health conditions, the remaining seven percent had no existing health issues should serve as a warning.