By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – County health officials voiced cautious optimism Monday about the coronavirus emergency, citing a relatively low number of new cases while also warning of possible reporting lags.

Los Angeles County reported another 1,634 cases of the coronavirus, raising the countywide total to 193,788, according to public health director Barbara Ferrer.

As of Monday, the number of people hospitalized in the county was reported at 1,784 patients.

Another 12 deaths were also attributed to COVID-19.

Saying she was “cautiously optimistic that we’re getting back on track” in efforts to combat COVID-19, Ferrer added, “I want to emphasize the word ‘cautiously.'”

She cited steady declines in hospitalization numbers, which dropped below 2,000 after averaging around 2,200 patients a day in mid-July. Average daily rates of positive tests also leveled off over the course of last month to average between 8% and 8.8% in recent days.

While acknowledging the relatively low number of new cases is likely the result of reporting lags from the weekend, Ferrer said positivity rates, hospitalizations, and other statistical trends are heading in the right direction.

“Simply put, closing the bars worked,” Ferrer said. “It also worked to limit indoor dining at restaurants and to move the operations of various businesses outdoors. This is particularly true in those places where customers were not being to be able to wear their face coverings and/or they were in crowded situations.”

Starting Monday, Ferrer announced, the health department will offer $20 gift cards for people willing to complete an interview with a contact tracer.

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