LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County health officials reported a record-high single-day number of coronavirus cases Wednesday, though health officials said the spike was due to a backlog of test results that were released from a single lab.
The county Department of Public Health announced 2,129 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths, bringing countywide totals 77,189 cases and 2,991 deaths.
Public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at least 600 of the newly reported cases were the result of a backlog of results from one testing facility.
“We’re getting dumps of lab reports that were not submitted to us in a timely way,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer also said that the county did not have any outbreaks associated with recent protests, but said health officials would notify the public if there was data to support that an outbreak had occurred.
As of Wednesday, there were 1,420 people hospitalized in the county due to the novel coronavirus, an increase of 132 patients from Tuesday, but Ferrer said the hospitalization rate has been holding steady in recent weeks.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, said the local transmission rate has also remained stable and said there was no immediately fear of hospitals being overwhelmed.
Officials also said the positivity rate — the rate at which people tested for the virus receive positive results — COVID-19 was holding steady at 8%, though they said residents still need to take precautions to limit spread.
“Given that the vast majority of those living in Los Angeles County are still susceptible to COVID-19 and the infection, we need to rely on a refined set of practices that allow us to get back to work and back to living our lives safely,” Ghaly said.
Ferrer said all residents and staff at the 315 skilled nursing facilities in the county — outside of Long Beach and Pasadena — have been tested. She also said the seven-day death rate at nursing homes has been trending downward and that limited, restricted visitation can resume at facilities that go 28 days without new infections.
“It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see relaxing across the board at all of the (skilled nursing facilities) given the fact that they do need to be 28 days out with no new cases,” she said. “But visitors with fever or COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter into a facility.”
She also said visitors would also need to practice physical distancing, wear face coverings at all times and follow additional rules set by the facilities.
Ferrer also indicated that the county could loosen its health order to allow nail salons, tattoo parlors and health spas to reopen, a step Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week could take place as early as Friday.
“We are working very closely with the board (of supervisors) to assess the options on the reopening,” Ferrer said. “We hope that we’ll be able to share more information … as early as tomorrow about where we continue and how we continue on our recovery journey.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)