LA's rise in COVID-19 cases due in part to July 4, officials say

As COVID-19 hospitalizations hit new records in LA County Monday, officials blamed the rise in coronavirus cases in part to the July 4 holiday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
LA's rise in COVID-19 cases due in part to July 4, officials say
The rise in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles is connected in part to the Fourth of July, officials say, but contact tracing continues to be a challenge.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- COVID-19 numbers are usually low on Mondays as testing stats tend to lag over the weekend. Today followed that trend, with just nine COVID-19 deaths reported.

But when it comes to people landing in Los Angeles County hospital beds because of the virus, the numbers are breaking records.

"There are 2,232 confirmed cases that are currently hospitalized, and this is the highest number of patients hospitalized that we have ever reported," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Public Health Department.

Ferrer says the county is back to testing about 20,000 people each day.

A Southern California family is mourning three of its members who died due to COVID-19 as the matriarch of the family remains in the ICU fighting the virus.

But officials are expecting the infection rate to continue rising as residents ignore health orders to physically distance themselves and wear masks. L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the recent July 4 holiday was to blame in part.

"The increase that we have seen lately in cases of COVID-19 are in part connected with Fourth of July activities. It will take approximately 2-3 weeks between when someone is first exposed until they test positive for the virus," Barger said.

RELATED: Majority of COVID-19 cases in San Bernardino County are from private gatherings, data shows

Ferrer says tracking down the origins of COVID-19 cases is very difficult because of that long incubation period.

But the county is still soldiering on in its contact tracing efforts, hoping to get more people who've tested positive with coronavirus to participate in the confidential interviews.

Only 66% of those who test positive have completed the contact tracing interview. The county is now offering $20 gift cards to encourage people to finish their interviews.

Data from the LA County Department of Public Health shows an increase in coronavirus cases, but a decrease in daily deaths. Why? Well, the answer is complicated. Community journalist Sophie Flay spoke with Dr. Michael Daignault to help break it down.