Nearly nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County officials reported a record-shattering 7,593 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, making it the “worst day thus far,” and Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer expects that number to climb.
“It will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County,” Ferrer said in a statement. “That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase.”
The county’s previous high for new cases was 6,124 — which was set last week. Public Health also confirmed a record 2,316 people with the coronavirus are hospitalized, 24% of which are in the intensive care unit. The daily positivity rate stood at 12% on Tuesday, a 5% spike from the previous week.
In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, L.A. County — which has imposed the toughest restrictions in the state — recently banned in-person dining and issued a three-week safer-at-home order that went into effect on Monday.
Ferrer urged residents and businesses to “take immediate action if we are to dampen this alarming surge.”
“We are in the middle of an accelerating surge in a pandemic of huge magnitude,” she added. “This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives.”
Ferrer expressed concern about the transmission rate at worksites. Cases at schools among staff and students have gone up 224% since the beginning of November, and outbreaks at worksites increased by 172%. Cases among health-care professionals are up 71%, and cases among residents at nursing facilities increased by 89%.
There have been 414 cases reported so far in South Pasadena as of Tuesday. Public Health had reported 388 cases the previous week.
The unnerving trend is rampant throughout California, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to consider a possible stay-at-home order imposed on counties in the purple tier — which indicates widespread infection rate. Fifty-one of 57 counties in California are currently in the most restrictive tier and none are in the least restrictive tier.
“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action, including looking at those purple tier counties,” he said on Monday.
State officials reported the seven-day average for new infections stood at 14,657. During the peak period in July, the seven-day average was 9,881.
Newsom said that they will closely monitor the hospitalization numbers and work with public health officials from each county to determine possible future restrictions. However, he said any future stay-at-home order would come “with modifications.”
The governor also stated that they are anticipating about 327,000 vaccines from Pfizer this month, and the second dose will likely arrive a few weeks after.
Ferrer called the vaccine a “bright light at the end of this very bright tunnel” but urged L.A. County residents to “commit today and through the next few months to be part of the solution to this terrible pandemic.
“The virus is relentless,” she added. “It will continue to be relentless until we can vaccinate the millions of residents and workers that call L.A. County their home.”