LOS ANGELES – As Angelenos prepare to celebrate a muted Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday, the escalating numbers of coronavirus cases has public health and government officials alarmed. According to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the daily rate of new infections has risen with the average daily cases increased to 108% from October 31.
As hospitalizations continue to surge, LACDPH reported 8 new deaths and 6,124 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the County Monday. This coming after the five-day average of new cases increased to more than 4,000 cases per day.
L.A. County public health officials on Sunday announced they will issue an order suspending outdoor dining at restaurants amid a surge of new coronavirus cases. The new rule takes effect Wednesday at 10 p.m. and restricts restaurants, along with breweries, wineries and bars, to takeout and delivery.
Last week, Public Health officials established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, to restrict in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars. Sunday’s announcement is in keeping with those thresholds.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, LACDPH noted; “As cases have increased over the last few weeks, we are also seeing distressing increases in the daily number of people hospitalized for COVID-19. There are 1,473 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 27% of these people are in the ICU. This is a 73% increase from November 7 when the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 849.”
As COVID-19 spread surges in Los Angeles County, the number of COVID-19 workplace outbreaks across multiple sectors are increasing at alarming levels.
In just a two-week period, from October 31 to November 14, we have seen outbreaks in food facilities increase by over 200%. Food facilities includes restaurants, bottling plants, food processing facilities, grocery stores, and other food-related businesses that are operating in the County.
During the same time period, we have seen a 67% increase in outbreaks at general worksites which include many other worksites, including warehouse facilities, essential office worksites, retailers and manufacturing facilities.”
“The data emphasizes some of the ripple effects we are seeing as COVID-19 cases across the county are surging. At the end of the day, more people are becoming infected at their jobs and this results in more transmission back in the community. As we have asked so many times over the past months, we hope you will be able to dig deep and find a way to make the changes required with the new safety modifications,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.
“The controls that our jurisdiction and other states and communities have put in place work. While we may resent the safety measures, and many have a tremendous impact on families and the economy, a recent report in the New York Times has shown they prevent significant suffering and death. States with the fewest control measures in place to slow transmission of the virus are seeing some of the highest case rates during this current national surge. States with the tightest control measures have among the lowest daily cases rates, despite seeing increases,” Ferrer added.
The surging coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears close at hand, with the country now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City, the Associated Press reported this past Friday.
The overall U.S. death toll has reached about 254,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday, November 19 — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000.
Dr. Ferrer told reporters in her briefing Monday that if a new stay-at-home order is announced, it will not be as strict as the one at the start of the pandemic in March.
“Unfortunately, with such huge increases in the number of cases, we’re not confident that these numbers will decrease this week,” she said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in his press conference Monday noted that ‘all the data is trending in the wrong direction.’ He then announced new coronavirus precautions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, saying that people travelling into Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport, or Union Station, will have to sign a mandatory “Traveler Form” prior to arrival. The form acknowledges that travelers have read and understood California’s travel advisory. Failure to submit the form may result in a $500 fine. and urged people to refrain from traveling and stay home, KTLA reported.
“A test is not an excuse to go to somebody else’s house for Thanksgiving,” Garcetti said. “We often think of love as being with someone who we love. We know this year, love is not being with someone that you love.”