LA County reports third straight day of 2,000-plus new coronavirus cases

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FILE - In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. A series of missteps at the nation's top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus, hobbling the federal response as the pandemic spread across the country like wildfire, an Associated Press review found. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The number of people hospitalized with the virus remained over 800 — and 30% of the 840 people were being treated in intensive care units.

Reporting a daunting third straight day of more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County health officials again pleaded with residents to avoid large gatherings and take “Safer at Home” guidelines aimed at slowing the virus spread seriously.

Officials announced 15 new deaths and 2,418 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, Nov. 7, the numbers topping Friday’s total and continuing to hover around levels the county hadn’t seen since summer.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus remained at more than 800 — and 30% of the 840 people were being treated in intensive care units, officials said.

Hospitalizations climbed steadily this week, health officials said. The total has been stuck over 800 since Wednesday, well over the levels of the previous two months, when the numbers gradually inched downward and gave public health officials hope that the pandemic was easing.

The county has confirmed 319,977 cases since the outbreak began and 7,170 fatalities linked to the virus, for which there is still no fully vetted vaccine or cure.

Of the 15 people added to the county’s death toll, four were older than 80, seven were 65-79, two were 50-64, and one was younger than 29.

The county’s daily update did not include new numbers from Pasadena and Long Beach, cities that operate their own independent health  departments. Pasadena’s seven new cases raised its total to 2,929, but its death toll remained at 129. Long Beach does not generally release updates on the weekend; as of Friday, the city had reported 13,642 cases and 261 deaths.

“We send our deepest sympathies to the families and friends that are grieving the loss of their loved one to COVD-19,” said Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. “With today’s announcement of the presidential election results, many of us may want to gather with others to share this moment. The safest way to share your sentiments is through virtual platforms that keep you socially connected and physically distant. If you are unable to avoid gathering with others, please be sure to follow essential safety precautions: always wear a facing covering over your nose and mouth, keep at least 6 feet apart from those not in your household, and remain outdoors.”

Many people took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate as media organizations declared that Joe Biden had been elected the the 46th president of the United States. Others rallied to protest the outcome. Health officials have worried that such gatherings have helped increase the spread of the virus.

“Gathering with people outside of your household, especially in settings where people are shouting, chanting, or singing and not distancing can easily lead to increased cases of COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “This will slow down our recovery and can result in more illness and deaths.”

Several churches and other organizations are knotted up in legal battles, striving to get the county to ease its restrictions on public gatherings.

On Friday, 45 more schools in the county received permission to welcome students in transitional kindergarten through the second grade back to campus, bringing the total number of schools granted reopening waivers under a county program to 74.

Eleven of the 45 latest schools to receive waivers are public schools, with the rest representing private schools. To date, the county’s health department has approved 74 TK-2 school reopening waivers. Almost three-quarters of those waivers — 53 to be exact — have gone to private schools, with another 20 awarded to traditional public schools and one granted to a charter school.

The public schools that received waivers last week serve students in the El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, La Cañada and Gorman Joint school districts.

Las Virgenes Unified, the first public school district to receive the waivers last week, is scheduled to welcome TK-2 students back to campus for the first time under this waiver program on Monday.

Also on Firday, Los Angeles Dodgers third-baseman Justin Turner, who tested positive for COVID-19 during the team’s World Series-clinching game and was later rebuked for leaving isolation to celebrate on the field, will not face punishment from the league, which conceded that a variety of errors and miscommunication contributed to the situation.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred the league’s investigation uncovered information that “while not exonerating Mr. Turner from responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field.”

Five Dodger employees who were not with the team in the World Series “bubble” have tested positive for the virus, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Earlier, health officials feared that celebrations for the World Series-winning Dodgers and NBA champion Lakers were also helping to bolster COVID’s reach.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

Source: LA Daily News

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