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Los Angeles County Coronavirus Update: Daily Case Numbers Up 50% Since Early October

Tom Tapp
·4 min read

Less than a week after Los Angeles County saw a near-record spike in daily infections, the surge continues.

On Thursday, the county reported 3,600 new coronavirus cases. Health officials estimated that about 2,000 of those cases were the result of a backlog. That would set the day’s real total at 1,600. That’s still far above the 800-1,000 daily new cases seen in the past few weeks and still the largest daily case number recorded since August.

“Last week, the department experienced reporting system issues, first seeing low case numbers followed by high case numbers,” said L.A. Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said Monday. “Because of differences in test processing times and reporting lags, the new cases we announce daily are likely collected over several days and sometimes include backlogs of test results.”

On Monday, the number was back down to 856. But Monday numbers are often light because of testing delays over the weekend.

Also on Monday, Los Angeles marked its 300,000th coronavirus infection and its 7,000th death from the virus.

Tuesday, the number of new daily cases jumped back up to 1,586. State officials said that the backlog of cases had been processed and numbers were up to date — for more on that, see below.

Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday that the county in the past week had been averaging about 1,200 new coronavirus cases per day, up from 940 per day at the beginning of October. She debbed the increase a “cause for concern” and a issued a “call to everyone” to recommit to infection-control measures, physical distancing and face coverings. Tuesday’s numbers may confirm a new spike past 1,200.

Ferrer said on Monday that the recent spike in cases is the result of “decisions we collectively made two to three weeks ago. And the actions we’re taking today will influence whether we’re able to continue our recovery journey, or we stall or even take steps backward. We do need to slow the transmission to allow for economic recovery.”

On the same day, L.A. County Health Officer Muntu Davis issued a health advisory for private gatherings and public celebrations.

Citing the high risk of COVID-19 infection at such events given the increasing rate of COVID-19 community transmission, Davis said that “it is critical that we all take action to slow the spread” as we close in on Halloween, Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.

“There have been too many instances of people unknowingly spreading the virus at these types of gatherings, which, sadly, has led to new infections, serious illness and death,” continued Davis.

After a recent massive spike in coronavirus cases in the state as well as mysterious data backlog that skewed some numbers, California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke in depth about the pandemic for the first time in over a week on Tuesday.

He said numbers have been trending “slightly up.” The 7-day average is 4,393.

The 14-day positivity rate was up to 2.9% 14-day, It’s 3.2% for the seven day average. That’s as testing is going up, which is not a good sign. Normally, as more tests are given positivity rates fall. If they’re going up, it indicates growing or undetected infections.

Newsroom said it was near 200,000 on one day over the weekend. He reported a 4.7% rise in Hospitalizations over the past 7 days and a 5.2% rise in ICU admissions over the past 7 days.

“Capacity remains ample,” promised the governor.

California on Friday reported a massive surge in cases, from 3,707 the day before to 6,141, a number of daily infections not seen in the state since August. The state’s COVID-19 surveillance site had a terse statement indicating that those numbers were also impacted by the data backlog.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, however, failed to mention the high new numbers or backlog in a nearly hourlong press conference Friday. Neither did he hold his usual Monday news conference. To date, there still has been no explanation for the backlog.

“We had a modest glitch for a few days,” explained Newsom, revealing that the discrepancies were related to “reporting in one county.” That turned out to be L.A. County.

Asked if the numbers were now correct, Newsom said, “Absolutely, I’m confident in that.”

On Monday, the state’s number of new infections was just under 3,000, but early-week numbers often are lower due to a backlog over the weekend. That brought the state’s total to over 900,000. It continues to the be most-infected region in the country.

California announced 3,188 new infections on Tuesday and 43 new deaths. There were 3,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and 2,576 ICU beds available.

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