LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County are trending in the right direction, health officials say, even as they urged Angelenos to wear face coverings while out in public.

Public health director Barbara Ferrer said Friday while COVID-19 deaths and cases continue to rise, key indicators of spread – primarily death and hospitalization rates – are either declining or holding steady.

Officials reported another 38 deaths due to the coronavirus, lifting the county’s total to 3,063. The county also recorded another 1,414 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the overall total to
79,609.

The county’s seven-day average of deaths has been dropping since mid-April, while the average number of daily deaths is now between 20 to 30 compared with 46 in early May.

Ferrer also acknowledged a slight increase in hospitalizations recently, adding that could be a result of hospitals testing every person who comes into the facility.

But she also stressed the urgency for people to wear the masks anytime they are associating with people outside their own households to prevent a reversal in current trends.

“I get a lot of questions about why this is important, especially from individuals who are not worried about becoming infected themselves,” Ferrer said. “The important issue here is that we’re not asking you to wear the face covering to protect yourself. We ask you to cover your mouth and nose to protect others, especially since you can be infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms of illness.”

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated that Californians wear face coverings in virtually all settings outside the home. A similar mandate has been in place in L.A. County since mid-May.

Orange County and other Southland residents have staged protests over the mandate, citing civil liberties and economic impact from preventing people from visiting local businesses.

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