Known coronavirus infections among younger residents have spiked in Los Angeles County as more businesses reopened, officials said Sunday.
People aged 18 to 40 years old now account for 41% of the county’s 97,894 documented infections, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.
“While cases in this age range typically have low risk for serious illness or death, Public Health is concerned they may unknowingly infect parents, grandparents, and friends and family who have underlying health conditions and who are at greater risk for serious illness and death,” health officials said.
The surge comes after the county allowed restaurants, bars, hair salons, places of worship and other spaces to reopen, setting the stage for more people to leave their homes and socialize with others, despite warnings from officials.
Coronavirus cases increased about 44% in just over two weeks for the younger age group, surging by over 11,600 infections since June 10, according to health officials.
“The timing of these increases is in line with the reopening of key sectors, including bars, which are places where people remove their face covering to drink while they may be socializing with people not in their households,” health officials said.
L.A. County is seeing a “sharp increase” in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, with 1,717 people being treated for COVID-19 across the county’s hospitals Sunday. The positivity rate for the virus also climbed, with the seven-day daily average going from 5.8% two weeks ago to 8.7% Sunday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to shut down, saying bar settings create a higher risk of transmission in the counties where the virus is now spreading rapidly.
L.A. County officials said they will be amending their health order in compliance with the governor’s order and called on all bars, breweries, brew pubs, pubs, wineries and tasting rooms to close Sunday, just days after they were allowed to welcome back customers.
County Health Director Barbara Ferrer urged residents to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and to stay home as much as possible.
“It isn’t just about you as an individual,” Ferrer told residents during a Thursday media briefing. “While you may be healthy and able to overcome COVID-19, your grandmother, your father, your sister or your friend may not be so lucky.”
L.A. County confirmed another 2,542 coronavirus cases and 20 new deaths Sunday, bringing the countywide case total to 97,894 with 3,305 deaths.