LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County reported another 1,296 cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
The total number of cumulative cases is now at 306,377.
The county also announced another 26 virus-related deaths, increasing the death toll to 7,057.
Health officials have been reporting an increasing number of cases throughout the month. At the beginning of October, the county had been averaging around 940 new cases per day. Now, the average is around 1,200 per day.
On Thursday, the county reported 1,745 new cases — the highest number since late August that is not associated with a backlog in testing.
With Halloween one day away, health officials pleaded with residents to avoid traditional gatherings and take precautions against virus transmission that could make the spike worse.
“As we head into the holiday weekend, please remember there is simply too much COVID-19 going around for us to let our guard down,” public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “The fewer people you and your household have in-person contact with, the lower your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
“For the county to continue our recovery journey, many more of us need to get back to doing what we know works, and we need to stop engaging in activities that makes it easy for transmission of the virus,” she said.
The Department of Public Health suggested other options for celebrations on Saturday for Halloween.
“Safer options include participating in a virtual party, attending a drive-in event, driving around your neighborhood to see decorated houses, holding a scavenger hunt for treats at home or attending a special Halloween drive-in movie,” according to the agency. “Carnivals, parties, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions are not safe this Halloween and are not permitted under the Health Officer Order.”
L.A. County is still under the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening guidelines. Until the daily case numbers drop to an average of around 700 per day, the county will not be able to substantially lift restrictions.
According to health officials, younger residents make up the bulk of new cases being reported. Public gatherings — particularly groups of people coming together to watch sporting events either in private settings or at outdoor restaurants — were said to likely be responsible for the transmission.
Beyond just the recent Lakers and Dodgers championship playoff runs, health officials pointed to the start of football season as another factor attracting larger crowds at eateries with television sets.
All bars remain closed in the county, and no spectators are permitted at sporting events, such as Rams and Chargers games at SoFi Stadium.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)