L.A. County continues dangerous coronavirus surge

Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reported 2,848 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with the majority of those infected under the age of 41, as related hospitalizations reached a new high.

There are currently 2,216 people hospitalized with the virus, the county health department reported. This is the fifth consecutive day with hospitalizations higher than 2,100 and the first time hospitalizations have surpassed 2,200.

Among those hospitalized, 26% are in intensive care units and 19% are on ventilators.

As the dangerous surge in infections continues, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered a fresh warning Sunday during an appearance on CNN that the city was “on the brink” of imposing new restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. But he did not elaborate.

The mayor has made similar comments before over the last two weeks, saying the city would act if cases continue to rise.

The county’s latest COVID-19 numbers also indicate that the disease has become most prevalent in the relatively young: 53% of the 2,848 new cases occurred in people under 41; 52% of cases to date in the county have occurred in that age group.

The latest report also includes 11 deaths, bringing the county’s total to 4,095.

“We continue to reach concerning milestones and today we are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Right now, young adults are being hospitalized at a rate not seen before. No matter how young you are, you are vulnerable to this virus. I urge everyone to take collective responsibility — stay physically apart from people you don’t live with, properly wear a face covering when you are outside your home but stay home as much as possible.”

Even without Garcetti’s intervention, a series of state-imposed restrictions recently took effect, including a ban on indoor restaurant dining and the closing of bars, malls and other retailers in L.A. County and other counties on the state’s watch list.

California’s watch list includes all counties in Southern California. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday ordered K-12 campuses — public and private — to remain closed in these counties until a county has been off the watch list for 14 consecutive days.

The county has now tabulated more than 1.5 million tests, of which 10% have come back positive.

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