Los Angeles County recorded more than 5,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a new record amid an alarming surge that has daily infection numbers climbing faster than ever before.
The 5,031 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday marked the biggest one-day case increase in the county not related to a reporting backlog and brought the total number of confirmed cases to 353,232 with 7,363 deaths.
While the increase can in part be attributed to more people getting tested, “regardless, the new positive cases are both real and concerning,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said.
The county had previously announced that if the five-day average number of cases reaches 4,500 or if hospitalizations surpass more than 2,000 per day, officials will mandate a Safer-at-Home Order for three weeks, only allowing essential and emergency workers to leave their homes, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
“We still have a few more days to go, but if the numbers remain high, then potentially … by Sunday we could have the five-day average being higher than we would want to see, and would need to implement a separate order,” Davis said.
The number of new cases confirmed daily is increasing rapidly — at a faster rate now than during June and July, when a surge in infections brought about more COVID-19 deaths and resulted in officials enacting stricter restrictions.
“We’re now seeing a much more rapid surge in cases than we saw in the summer,” Davis said.
From June 20 through July 3, the average daily cases increased by 47%. From Oct. 28 through Nov. 10, the average daily the cases have increased 68%, according to data from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
There’s also been a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations that has again put L.A. County on an alarming path that could lead to overburdened hospitals in a matter of weeks.
There were 1,238 COVID-19 patients hospitalized countywide on Thursday.
“At this point, no one should be still underestimating the spread of this virus nor should anyone be questioning actions we still need to slow the spread and lessen its impact on our collective health,” Davis said.
Because of the unprecedented rise in cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered a “limited Stay at Home Order,” requiring that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier starting Sunday. That includes L.A. and all neighboring counties.