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The pandemic that has killed nearly 20,000 Californians and brought a once-booming economy to its knees entered a treacherous phase Sunday as much of the state began a new stay-at-home order and coronavirus cases soared to unprecedented highs that show no signs of slowing down.

The Department of Public Health in Los Angeles County, a hot spot of the coronavirus in California, reported more than 10,500 new cases on Sunday, a staggering number for a single day that underscores fears that the virus spread rapidly during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 neared 3,000 — and L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that number could rise dramatically in the next few weeks as the full toll of the holiday comes into view.

This was the seventh consecutive day of record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations in L.A. County, and more than quadruple the number from early October, when there were about 700 hospitalized people with the disease.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing daily hospitalizations approaching 4,000 in a couple of weeks,” Ferrer said in an interview Sunday. “I am positive that we haven’t seen the full increases in our case numbers associated with the Thanksgiving holiday, just based on the timeline.”

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