Los Angeles County seeing 'terrifying increases' in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County continues to see "terrifying increases" in COVID-19 cases along with hospitalizations that are putting a growing strain on the region's health care system, county officials said Wednesday.

The county reported another 5,987 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, one day after reporting a record-high 7,593 new cases.

The county also reported 40 additional deaths and more than 2,400 people currently hospitalized.

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"We're seeing terrifying increases in numbers in L.A. County that can only be turned around if everyone - businesses and individuals - carefully use the tools we have to slow the spread," said county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

The county has now reached totals of 414,185 cases and 7,740 deaths since the pandemic began.

Ferrer presented some additional numbers that demonstrate just how severely the caseload has increased in Los Angeles over the past few weeks - without yet including the expected surge from Thanksgiving.

  • The positivity rate - or the percentage of tests that come back positive - jumped from 3.9% on Nov. 1 to over 12% now.

  • The average number of people hospitalized jumped from 1,063 on Nov. 15 to 2,439 currently.

  • The number of daily deaths jumped from 12 per day in early November to more than 30 per day this week. Those deaths, Ferrer noted, reflect people who were likely infected a month or more ago, meaning those numbers are likely to increase based on the current surge in positive tests.

  • And the data shows the virus is disproportionately affecting the Latino community more than other ethnic groups. Latinos are testing positive, getting hospitalized, and dying at rates much higher than other groups:

  • Latinos are seeing new cases at a rate of 270 per 100,000 of total population. By comparison, the white population is at 125 cases per 100,000. The Black population is at 112 and Asians are 80.

  • Hospitalizations for Latinos are also widening, with 24 hospitalized per 100,000, compared to 9 per 100,000 for the white population, 8 per 100,000 for Asians and 15 per 100,000 for African-Americans.

  • The death rates for Latinos has doubled to 3 per 100,000, compared to 1 per 100,000 for whites and Asians and almost 2 per 100,000 for African-Americans.

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    Los Angeles County may soon see a shortage of hospital beds if the current increase in coronavirus rates continues, officials say.

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    The report said that anyone over 65 or with significant health conditions "should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked."

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