Cal­i­for­nia en­ters a per­ilous phase

An­other record for cases in a day

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Colleen Shalby, Rong-Gong Lin II, Maura Dolan and Ja­clyn Cos­grove

Of­fi­cials ex­press alarm over peo­ple f lout­ing safety rules as in­fec­tions surge.

Cal­i­for­nia plum­meted deeper into a new coro­n­avirus cri­sis Mon­day as new cases spiked to record lev­els, some hos­pi­tals filled up, and of­fi­cials ex­pressed grow­ing alarm and frus­tra­tion with peo­ple re­fus­ing to fol­low safety rules de­spite the in­creas­ingly per­ilous con­di­tions.

The state broke its record Mon­day for the great­est num­ber of new coro­n­avirus cases re­ported in a sin­gle day, tal­ly­ing more than 8,000. That’s the third time in eight days the state has bro­ken a record of new daily cases, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Times’ Cal­i­for­nia coro­n­avirus tracker.

A Times anal­y­sis found that Cal­i­for­nia is on track to roughly dou­ble the num­ber of coro­n­avirus cases in June over those it recorded in May. In May, there were 61,666 cases re­ported statewide; by Mon­day night, there were 114,196 cases re­ported for the first 28 days of June.

By Mon­day evening, there were a cu­mu­la­tive re­ported 223,000 con­firmed cases and more than 5,900 coro­n­avirus-re­lated deaths

in Cal­i­for­nia.

The coro­n­avirus has rapidly spread through com­mu­ni­ties as the econ­omy has re­opened and peo­ple re­verted to old be­hav­iors, re­turn­ing to bars, bar­be­cues and birth­day par­ties.

The new data show “alarm­ing in­creases in cases, pos­i­tiv­ity rates and hos­pi­tal­iza­tion,” L.A. County Pub­lic Health Di­rec­tor Bar­bara Fer­rer said.

Los An­ge­les County, long the cen­ter of coro­n­avirus in Cal­i­for­nia, hit an­other grim mile­stone, sur­pass­ing 100,000 con­firmed cu­mu­la­tive cases and more than 3,330 deaths. The county re­ported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases on Mon­day alone, also record­ing its largest sin­gle-day num­ber of new in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to The Times’ coro­n­avirus tracker.

The num­ber of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions of con­firmed COVID-19 pa­tients has also soared in L.A. County, ris­ing by 44% in the past two weeks. On Sun­day, 1,732 COVID-19 pa­tients were hos­pi­tal­ized, up from 1,206 two weeks ear­lier.

L.A. County is now pro­ject­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of run­ning out of its ex­ist­ing sup­ply of hos­pi­tal beds for COVID-19 pa­tients in two to three weeks.

Like­wise, the num­ber of in­ten­sive-care beds avail­able could be ex­hausted some­time in July.

Hos­pi­tals can, how­ever, make more room for coro­n­avirus pa­tients by can­cel­ing elec­tive surg­eries and mak­ing other moves to in­crease ca­pac­ity.

“This is the time to hunker down back in your home when­ever you can,” Fer­rer said, urg­ing peo­ple to wear face cov­er­ings and prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing. “Please, let’s not let go of ev­ery­thing we worked hard and sac­ri­ficed for.”

She urged peo­ple to avoid crowds: “It’s just not safe right now.”

Fer­rer said the surge is proof — “defini­tively” — that com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion has in­creased, with the cu­mu­la­tive rate of those test­ing pos­i­tive for in­fec­tion in­creas­ing from 8% to 9%.

Of­fi­cials are now warn­ing that 1 in 140 res­i­dents are prob­a­bly un­know­ingly in­fected with the virus and con­ta­gious to oth­ers, a three­fold in­crease over last week’s pro­jec­tion of 1 in 400.

That means a typ­i­cal large, busy store would prob­a­bly have mul­ti­ple in­fec­tious per­sons en­ter and shop ev­ery day, of­fi­cials said.

In ad­di­tion, health of­fi­cials re­vealed that on the week­end af­ter June 19 — the day Los An­ge­les County gave the green light for bars, brew­eries, winer­ies and sim­i­lar busi­nesses to re­open — more than 500,000 peo­ple visited the county’s newly re­opened nightlife spots.

In­spec­tors, how­ever, found over the week­end that em­ploy­ees at about half of bars and restau­rants were not wear­ing face masks or shields. Half of bars and onethird of restau­rants were not ad­her­ing to so­cial dis­tanc­ing pro­to­cols.

Gov. Gavin New­som or­dered bars in L.A. County and four other coun­ties in the San Joaquin Val­ley closed Sun­day be­cause of the in­creas­ing case num­bers.

The ef­fec­tive trans­mis­sion rate of the coro­n­avirus has now in­creased across the county.

Pre­vi­ously, through the be­gin­ning of May, for ev­ery one per­son in­fected, fewer than one other per­son on av­er­age was in­fected — a tes­ta­ment to the suc­cess of the stay-at-home or­der.

But by early June, as the re­open­ing ac­cel­er­ated, the coro­n­avirus trans­mis­sion rate had crept above 1, mean­ing for ev­ery one per­son in­fected, an ad­di­tional 1.26 peo­ple are in­fected on av­er­age.

Or­ange County con­firmed 57 coro­n­avirus-re­lated deaths for the sev­en­day pe­riod that ended Sun­day, the high­est weekly death toll that the county has re­ported since the pan­demic be­gan in the U.S. It was the third con­sec­u­tive week Or­ange County broke a weekly record for COVID-19 deaths.

There are now 19 coun­ties on the state’s coro­n­avirus watch list, in­clud­ing L.A., Or­ange, River­side, San Bernardino and Ven­tura coun­ties.

Of­fi­cials are grow­ing in­creas­ingly alarmed by the up­com­ing Fourth of July week­end be­cause they fear more crowds and gath­er­ings could spread COVID-19 fur­ther.

Los An­ge­les County will close its beaches Fri­day and ban fire­works dis­plays in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the hol­i­day.

All pub­lic beaches, piers, pub­lic beach park­ing lots, beach bike paths “that tra­verse that sanded por­tion of the beach” and beach ac­cess points will be closed from 12:01 a.m. Fri­day to 5 a.m. Mon­day.

The ban on fire­works dis­plays ap­plies to the long Fourth of July week­end.

Pho­tographs by Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

THE NOVEL CORO­N­AVIRUS has rapidly spread through com­mu­ni­ties amid re­open­ings and peo­ple re­vert­ing to old be­hav­iors. Above, Ja­cob Laiser of Venice bal­ances on a slack line while work­ing out on Mon­day in Santa Mon­ica. L.A. County has passed 100,000 cases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.