LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County Monday reached the grim threshold of 7,000 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, and surpassed 300,000 cases.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said the county has seen a concerning increase in the number of daily case reports — rising from an average of about 940 per day at the beginning of the month to 1,200 per day over the past week.
Ferrer said the uptick was likely due in part to gatherings of sports fans following the Lakers’ recent championship, the restart of college and pro football and the baseball postseason. And while the uptick has not been as high as what was seen following the Fourth of July holiday, she said it is a “cause for concern.”
“We have all seen the pictures of sports fans rooting for their teams where they’re shouting in the middle of a large crowd, and almost no one is wearing a face covering,” she said. “This is the perfect setting for transmitting the virus.”
And while Ferrer acknowledged the desire to celebrate the successes of local sports teams, she said doing so in traditional ways would continue the spread of the virus.
“The downside of this is during a pandemic some of the things we’ve done in the past just don’t make sense,” she said. “Gathering in large crowds to watch games indoors, people aren’t wearing their face coverings, people are yelling a lot. That’s just not sensible.”
On Monday, L.A. County reported 861 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and eight deaths, bringing countywide totals to 300,614 cases and 7,000 deaths.
Ferrer also called on Angelenos to refrain from large gatherings with people from different households and urged people to celebrate Halloween safely this year by attending virtual events, holding at-home scavenger hunts or participating in drive-thru displays and activities.
“This pandemic has forced so many to sacrifice so much this year, and we recognize the frustration and disappointment with the holiday restrictions,” she said. “For now though, it’s simply not safe to celebrate holidays the way we usually do. Being close to others who are not in our household carries with it a lot of risk for transmitting COVID-19 this year.”
There were a total of 767 people hospitalized due to the virus, 29% of whom were being treated in intensive care units. With testing results available for nearly 3,020,000 people, the county’s overall positivity rate was holding steady at 9%.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)