LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The state is again urging Southern Californians residents to stay home whenever possible, sending out emergency alerts to phones throughout the region asking them to "Stay home except for essential activity."
The state alerts are reminding the public that new stay-at-home orders have taken effect this week throughout California. The orders are triggered by a drop in ICU available capacity below 15%.
Details on stay-at-home order here
On Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has set another record in Los Angeles County, adding to capacity concerns at local medical centers already struggling to manage rising patient numbers.
RELATED: State provides latest update on stay-at-home order, COVID-19 cases
According to the county Department of Public Health, 2,988 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized on Monday, 24% of whom were in an ICU.
The county's available ICU capacity is estimated in the 10% range.
Coronavirus hospitalizations have set new records in the county every day of December.
Health officials continue to urge people to follow safety guidelines to slow the spread of the virus, which has claimed the lives of 7,936 people countywide.
Last week 1,745 infections were reported among Los Angeles County health care workers -- more than double the number just a week before.
SoCal restaurant owners defy orders to close despite regional stay-at-home order
And the situation will likely worsen in coming weeks, with hospitalization numbers expected to continue rising in response to the recent spike in case numbers. But the county's public health director said there's still a path to preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed -- if residents commit to infection-control measures and public health restrictions.
"We don't want to get there and we don't have to get there,'' Barbara Ferrer said during an online briefing. "I think right now the issue is we're not there. While we know we're going to see significant increases for the next two to three weeks, it can turn itself around at the moment we all start getting back into the game. And we don't have to actually just say, 'This is inevitable, we are going to see an overwhelmed health care system.'"
Meanwhile, a retired British shop clerk received the first shot in the country's COVID-19 vaccination program Tuesday, the start of an unprecedented global immunization effort intended to offer a route out of a pandemic that has killed 1.5 million.
Viewing the SoCal COVID tracker on a mobile device? Click here for a better experience.
City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.