By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Friday reported 2,651 newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 69 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 188,481 cases and 4,621 deaths.

A sign at a COVID-19 testing center is written in English and Spanish amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 31 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The increase in deaths reported Friday is significantly higher than was was reported last week, where the daily reported death toll average was about 38. Health department officials also noted that deaths were a lagging indicator of the spread of COVID-19 and reflected exposures from weeks prior.

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“As we are seeing increases these past few days in the numbers of people dying from COVID-19, the reality of the devastation cannot be ignored,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “Nor can we ignore the reality that there are actions each person can take to prevent these tragic outcomes.”

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Of the 69 new deaths reported Friday, 18 were over the age of 80, 25 were between the ages of 65 and 79, 15 were between the ages of 5 0 and 64 years old, and four were between the ages of 30 and 49. Six deaths were reported by the city of Long Beach and one was reported by the city of Pasadena.

“Together, we can slow the spread of this deadly virus with simple acts of respect and kindness — wear a face covering, avoid gathering with people you don’t live with, stay home as much as possible, and practice hand hygiene,” she continued. “Together, we can heal.”

As of Friday, there were 2,002 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized with 29% being treated in intensive care units. Overall, there were 2,568 confirmed and suspected cases hospitalized, with 18% on ventilators.

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With testing results available for nearly 1.76 million people, the county’s overall positivity rate was holding steady at 10%.