Los Angeles County health officials reported 2,916 new cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, and 57 more deaths.
Countywide, that brings the total number of confirmed cases to 130,242, with a total of 3,793 people who have succumbed to the illness, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
As of Saturday, there were more than 2,000 people hospitalized with the illness, 27% of whom were in intensive care units and 18% who were on ventilators. Earlier this week, the county’s health director Barbara Ferrer said the alarming spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations could lead to a surge in deaths.
“It’s clear that after months of quarantine combined with the reopening of many sectors in the span of several weeks, we’ve had a lot of people disregard the very practices that allowed us to slow the spread,” Ferrer said. “This cannot continue.”
As more people go out to work and to socialize, there has been a significant increase in cases and hospitalizations among those aged 18 to 40 years old, Ferrer said.
“Almost 50% of new cases occur among younger people, and then those younger people are spreading the infection to others,” she said.
As cases continue to increase, testing will be ramped up with 8,000 new appointment slots have been added in city-run testing cites for next week, according to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The city of L.A. will increase testing capacity by 25%, after already increasing capacity by nearly 50% a week ago, he said Friday.
Despite increased testing efforts, “a test is not a passport to party,” Garcetti reminded Angelenos Wednesday. “More people are getting sick, supply chains are getting constrained — So we’re asking you to be responsible, even as we offer these tests to all folks with and without symptoms.”
The county remains the epicenter of California’s coronavirus outbreak and has seen record-high case increases the past two weeks.
Half of the California’s 58 counties, including L.A. County, are now on the state’s coronavirus watchlist as the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths surge to unprecedented levels.
California has an average of 91 COVID-19 related reported deaths per day, according to the Associated Press.