During a Wednesday briefing, Mayor Eric Garcetti pleaded with Angelenos to cancel plans and stay home for New Year’s Eve.
“Please do not let us have a third surge that we simply cannot take here in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said, noting the possibly deadly effects that Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings had. “Do not host or attend a party in person. Do not travel. Celebrate virtually.”
Amid an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, officials announced earlier this week that anyone who travels out of L.A. County is required to quarantine for 10 days upon return.
As some plan large gatherings, labeled as “super-spreaders,” the mayor said that the Los Angeles Police Department has contacted promoters and property owners to cancel their New Year’s Eve events, and the city attorney has asked Eventbrite to take down invitations to parties.
“We’ll enforce the public health rules that prohibit large gatherings which can be super-spreader events,” the mayor said, adding that the Department of Water and Power disconnected utilities at a “party house” in the Hollywood Hills Tuesday.
“LAPD will have a significant deployment patrolling the city to stop large gatherings and parties so we can stop the spread of this virus and so that we can save lives,” the mayor said.
As of Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it had made 235 arrests and recovered seven illegal firearms at such events this month.
Currently, one in five Angelenos tested for the virus are positive, the mayor said Wednesday, meaning there is 20% test positivity across L.A. County.
As of this week, the city has conducted 3.3 million COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic, and the current seven-day positivity rate at city sites is 23.4% — a record high, Garcetti said.
With testing sites closed during the New Year’s holiday, Dodger Stadium will remain shut Saturday so that it can be restructured to reduce traffic in the community.
The city opened up its first three “vaccine points-of-dispensing” Wednesday, allowing health care worker to get a shot at existing COVID-19 testing sites. In the coming days, the city will launch a fourth such “POD” in partnership with the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, the county surpassed 10,000 COVID-19 deaths, as California hit a record high number of deaths from the virus.
And, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier Wednesday that a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus initially reported in the United Kingdom and Colorado has been detected in Southern California.
Meanwhile, hospitals in the region are filling up, and so too are mortuaries and funeral homes.