Health Officials Say 1 Person Dies Every 15 MinutesBy CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Monday reported 9,142 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 77 additional deaths, bringing countywide totals to 827,498 cases and 10,850 deaths.

A nurse walks inside a temporary emergency room built in a parking garage at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center on Jan. 3. (Photo by Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Health officials attributed the low number of cases and deaths to reporting delays over the New Year’s holiday weekend.

There were 7,697 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 21% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

“The high number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals is distressing not only for those who have COVID-19, but for all others in the county who need acute care during this time,” the department said in a release. “People who have a stroke or heart attack or who experience a traumatic injury from a car crash are finding it more difficult to access care compared to usual times.”

According to the department, when the latest surge began in early-November, there was an average of 791 people hospitalized daily with COVID-19. On Jan. 2, the three-day average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 7,623 patients.

Health officials also urged all L.A. County residents to stay home whenever possible and refrain from gathering with people who live outside their household.

“Given that we are likely to experience in January the worst conditions that we have faced the entire pandemic, Public Health urges everyone to take personal responsibility and do your part to stop the surge,” the department said. “The numbers of hospitalizations and deaths do not go down until the number of new cases decreases.”

The department said the number of new daily COVID-19 cases was anticipated to again reach 15,000 with hospitalizations growing to 8,500 in two weeks and daily deaths rising two 175 a week or two after that.

“If we fail to use the tools currently available, our frontline healthcare workers, now caring for distressingly large numbers of COVID-19 patients, will face many more weeks of increasing numbers of patients and the heartbreaking loss of many lives,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, public health director, said. “It’s better to be lonely than sick; better to care for others by following all the rules than to end up passing along the virus to someone who gets hospitalized or even dies.”

With testing results available for more than 4.8 million people, the county’s overall positivity rate was 16%.