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.
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.

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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.

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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.

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