LA County has doubled its daily new COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County continues to see a sharp increase in deaths, hospitalizations and new cases of COVID-19 as the region remains under a new stay-at-home order.

The county reported another 64 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the county's overall fatality count to 8,000.

County health officials said there are 3,113 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized - an increase of nearly 1,000 in about a week. Of those hospitalized, 24% are in the ICU.

The ICU available capacity is the key factor in determining whether a region will fall under the state's new stay-at-home order. It took effect in Southern California this week after the figure dropped well below 15% over the weekend.

The county also reported 8,547 new cases of COVID-19. The average number of new daily cases has now doubled just since the day after Thanksgiving.

California's health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly says hospitalizations across the state have hit a record high, increasing by 71% in the last 14 days.

"We hope this new stay-at-home order gives us an opportunity to place a pause on all non-essential activities that increase the risk of transmitting the virus so that we're able to get the surge under control," said Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

Ghaly says the regional stay-home order is also based on successes in other countries.

"Belgium when they imposed a nationwide closure the positivity rate in just three weeks fell from 21% to 8%," Ghaly said.

Ferrer says Los Angeles County could receive its first allocation of about 84,000 doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week. Health care workers will be given initial priority.

It could be well into 2021 before the general population has access to COVID-19 vaccines, officials say.
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