LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County health officials reported 4,015 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, attributing about half of the cases to a backlog from a single lab from Thursday through Sunday.

With another 218 cases reported in Long Beach, the county’s total number of cases sits at 120,757.

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The county also reported 49 more deaths, including three reported in Long Beach, bringing the county’s death toll to 3,582.

The rate of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to climb in L.A. County. Although the average rate of positive tests throughout the pandemic remains at 9%, the average over the past seven days has risen to 11.6%.

The number of patients hospitalized rose to 1,969 on Tuesday, nearing levels seen during the pandemic’s peak. Three
weeks ago, the hospitalization number was averaging between 1,350 and 1,450, according to the county.

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County health officials also confirmed on Monday that about half of the new confirmed cases are among people between 18 and 40 years old, marking a notable shift in who is being infected. Younger people are also experiencing increasing rates of hospitalization, as are people 41-64.

Those 65 and older had been the majority of hospitalizations throughout the pandemic, but those numbers have decreased recently.

Health officials said the shift in numbers indicates increasing community spread of the virus, with younger people most likely to be out as businesses reopen. The spread may also be a result of people ignoring face covering and social distancing mandates when interacting with people outside their own households.

“It’s clear that after months of quarantine, combined with the reopening of many sectors in the span of several weeks, we’ve had a lot of people disregard the very practices that allowed us to slow the spread,” L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said on Monday. “And unfortunately, this cannot continue. Our inability to follow the most basic infection-control and distancing directives leads to serious illness and even the deaths of people we love and the deaths of those who are loved by others. And the evidence is overwhelmingly clear about the impact.

“It requires us, if we do not find it in ourselves to actually continue to adhere to the social-distancing and infection-control practices, it finds us in a place where we’re slowing down our recovery journey. What we do now will determine where we are in three to four weeks.”

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