LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With new restrictions set to take effect Friday, health officials are warning that Los Angeles County could reach a breaking point in the coronavirus crisis if cases continue to surge at the current rate.
On Wednesday, L.A. County recorded 3,944 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since the pandemic began. L.A. County has now recorded a total of 348,336 cases and 7,335 deaths from the disease.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that if the five-day case average crosses the 4,000 mark, or coronavirus hospitalizations reach 1,750 per day, outdoor dining at restaurants and breweries will be prohibited, with eateries only allowed to offer pickup and delivery.
If the five-day case average hits 4,500 or hospitalizations reaches 2,000, then a safer at home order will take effect for three weeks, meaning that people would only be allowed to leave their homes for essential services. A 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew would also be instituted.
Through Wednesday, there were 1,188 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 27% of which were in the ICU.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s director of health services, stressed Wednesday that current projections indicate the county will see its highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began in the next four weeks, potentially outpacing hospital capacity.
L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the county on Nov. 1 was averaging about 1,100 new cases a day, but that figure increased to almost 2,000 one week later, and as of Wednesday, it had risen to almost 4,000 per day.
“I cannot stress enough how concerning this is,” Ferrer said.’’
Several new restrictions will take effect Friday, the most notable being that restaurants, bars and non-essential retail stores must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Restaurants may remain open during those overnight hours for pickup and delivery only.
“We are reminded that we face one of the most dangerous moments in this pandemic, and that the only effective path forward requires immediate action, and unfortunately, additional sacrifice,” Ferrer said.
Here are the other new restrictions that will take effect Friday:
- Private outdoor gatherings may only include 15 people who are from no more than 3 households, including the host household.
- The number of patrons at outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will be limited to 50% maximum outdoor capacity.
- Non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors – including retail stores, offices, personal care services – will be limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy allowed.
- Services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff wearing face coverings.
- Services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials and shaves, are not permitted.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)