COVID-19 continued to put pressure on the Los Angeles County hospital system today, with the number of patients continuing its upward march as the county confirmed a near-record 2,779 new cases. That lifted the countywide total to 103,850.
Public health officials warned Monday that the spiking numbers of coronavirus cases could cause the county to run out of hospital beds in the next two to three weeks, and out of intensive care unit beds potentially sooner.
Asked if this is a make-or-break week, L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, “We can’t sustain this rate of increase in positive cases. This train can be a runaway train if we don’t put the breaks on it. We have to get our heads back into this new normal.”
As of Tuesday, the county reported 1,783 people in hospitals due to the virus, continuing an upward trend that has seen the number jump by more than 400 over the past month.
The county also announced another 45 deaths, which was one of its highest numbers in the past week. The new deaths gave the county an overall total of 3,371.
As of Tuesday, about 9 percent of the more than 1.1 million people tested in the county have been positive for the virus. The short-term positivity rate has been increasing, raising further concerns in the county about spiking numbers and the possibility of an overwhelmed health system. The seven-day average of the daily positivity rate has increased from 5.8 percent two weeks ago to 8.4 percent as of Monday. For reference, state guidelines will not allow a county to reopen with a 14-day positivity rate over 8 percent.
The rate of positive tests in California-at-large over the last 14 days is 5.6 percent. California’s hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased by 301 patients on Tuesday, a 6.3 percent jump. Thirty percent of all ICU beds in the state were occupied by coronavirus patients.
“In [sic] particular concern is the number of hospitalizations and the number of ICU beds,” said Governor Gavin Newsom after announcing those numbers.
The number COVID patients in ICU beds grew 4.3 percent overnight and saw a 37 percent increase over a two-week period.
The governor said the positivity rate of new tests was 4.4 percent two weeks ago. Now, over the past 7 days, it’s 5.9 percent.
L.A. County health officials on Monday said new statistics indicate that on average, one in every 140 people in Los Angeles County is infected with COVID- 19 and capable of spreading it to others, likely without having any symptoms or even knowing they are carrying the virus. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that figure may actually be closer to one in 70. That’s a dramatic change from last week, when the estimate was one in every 400 people.