L.A. County surpasses 400,000 coronavrius cases, hits record number of hospitalizations



Los Angeles County hit two new troubling milestones in the battle with COVID-19 on Monday, surpassing 400,000 cumulative coronavirus cases and breaking a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.



a group of people walking down a street: Shoppers on Monday at Plaza Mexico, a mall in Lynwood. New restrictions limit malls to 20% capacity. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)


© (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Shoppers on Monday at Plaza Mexico, a mall in Lynwood. New restrictions limit malls to 20% capacity. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The county surpassed its previous all-time high of 2,232 hospitalizations set on July 18. On Sunday, it posted a total of 2,316 people in its hospitals with confirmed coronavirus infections. The rate of increasing hospitalizations in L.A. County has been breathtaking: tripling from a total of 777 recorded on Halloween.

“The increases we’re seeing now are not sustainable. They’re not sustainable, because they’re gonna overwhelm not just our healthcare system, but the entire state’s healthcare system,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.

She added that the county is in “the most difficult moment in the pandemic.”

The county reported more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases Monday, and officials said they are holding out hope that new restrictions might slow the spread before hospitals reach a crisis point.

“We don’t really have any choice but to use all the tools at hand to stop the surge,” Ferrer said during a briefing. “Until there is a vaccine, each of us needs to protect all of those around us — both those we know and those we don’t. The virus is running rampant through almost every part of our county.”

Officials in L.A. County rolled out a targeted safer-at-home order that is in effect through Dec. 20. It closes public playgrounds; sets new capacity limits on retail stores, outdoor museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums; and prohibits all gatherings among people from different households, except for outdoor religious services and political demonstrations. Those limitations are on top of restrictions that went into effect last week, including a controversial renewed ban on outdoor dining.

Though she acknowledged the disruption that comes with new restrictions, Ferrer said health officials have tried to be more targeted in their efforts to slow the spread of the disease. But, she said, the county can’t sit idly by as conditions worsen — particularly in terms of the healthcare system.

On Monday, there were 2,185 COVID-19 patients hospitalized countywide. A week ago, there were 1,473.

“The increases we’re seeing now are not sustainable,” Ferrer said. “They’re … going to overwhelm not just our healthcare system but the entire state’s healthcare system. So we’re going to have to do everything we can, and hopefully everyone gets on board with this. It’s three weeks. We’ve done this for much longer in the past and with many more restrictions.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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