As social distancing restrictions are gradually lifted, health officials in Los Angeles County reported the highest single-day increase in detected novel coronavirus infections to date Saturday with 2,112 new cases, but said that the large number was at least partially due to a recent backlog of test results.
Forty-eight new COVID-19 deaths were also reported Saturday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Prior to Saturday, the highest number of reported COVID-19 infections reported in a single day in L.A. County was 1,843 on Tuesday, according to health department data.
But the figure does not necessarily represent a surge in infections, officials said.
“The high number of cases are, in part, due to a backlog of test results being processed and also a new lab beginning to report results in a timely manner through the county’s Electronic Laboratory Reporting system,” the health department said in a written statement.
Of the 48 newly-reported deaths, 36 of the patients were over the age of 65. Thirty-three of the patients had underlying health conditions.
County public health officials said a total of 53,651 cases of COVID-19 had been detected in L.A. County in all as of Saturday, while 2,338 people have succumbed to the illness. About 93 percent of those who have died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions.
“Each day, we join with families and friends mourning the devastating loss of life to COVID-19 and we keep those who are grieving in our thoughts and prayers,” according to Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.
“LA County is on our recovery journey, and as more businesses and spaces re-open, it has never been more important – as individuals, businesses and institutions – to use the tools that we all have to take care of each other and to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “This means practicing physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings when in public, and adhering to all directives in the Health Officer order.”
Meanwhile, as demonstrators crowded Los Angeles streets Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, at times clashing with police and lighting police vehicles on fire, L.A. Mayor Garcetti announced that all COVID-19 testing sites in the city would be closed as a safety precaution.
More information, including a city-by-city breakdown of reported cases and a list of testing centers, is available on the L.A. County Department of Public Health website.