By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 12,979 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 227 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 746,089 cases and 9,782 deaths.

Street artist Samir Evol Arghandwall Thursday works on a mural honoring health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Monica. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Health officials said the high number of new deaths was due in part to the backlog associated with a Spectrum outage and holiday reporting delays. Additional backlogged reports are expected over the next few days.

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Of the new deaths reported, 89 people who died were over the age of 80, 70 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 40 people were between the ages of 50 and 64 and 18 people were between the ages of 30 and 49. Eighty-five of those who died had underlying health conditions.

Health officials also reported a new daily record in hospitalizations, with 7,181 COVID-19 patients admitted into local hospitals — an increase of 267 from Monday and a nearly 1,000% increase from two months ago. Of those currently hospitalized, 20% are being treated in intensive care units.

“Our healthcare workers are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and this current path of surging COVID-19 hospitalizations is not sustainable,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, public health director, said. “Even if you believe your life isn’t at risk, actions that defy public health guidance certainly put other lives in danger. We are each other’s keepers.”

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Officials also reported that, as of Dec. 23, five of the 3,852 pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died. Of those who tested positive, 79% were Latina, 9% were white, 4% were Black, 3% were Asian, 2% identified with another race and less than 1% were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Race/ethnicity was unknown or unspecified for the remaining 2%. Among the 1,923 births where there was testing information, 27 babies tested positive for the virus.

The department also extended the temporary stay-at-home order, which will remain in effect for as long as the state’s regional stay-at-home order remains in effect in the Southern California region.

With testing results available for more than 4,650,000 people, the county’s overall positivity rate increased to 15%.