Warily watching daily caseload reports that could soon trigger more restrictive stay-home orders, Los Angeles County public health officials reported 4,522 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, Nov. 21, as the unnerving current surge showed no sign of relenting.

Meanwhile, California was poised to enact a nighttime curfew Saturday night as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to swamp health care systems. Statewide, the newest restrictions require people not on essential errands to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Dec. 21, with a possible extension if rapidly worsening trends don’t improve. People are allowed to shop for groceries, pick up food and even walk their dogs.

County officials Friday had already reduced the number of customers allowed for many businesses. Restaurants, breweries and wineries must cap occupancy to 50% of their outdoor seating. Indoor retail stores, personal care business and offices may have no more than 25% occupancy. Cardrooms and outdoor entertainment centers are now limited to 50%. No more than 15 people should attend any outdoor social gathering, and such groups should be limited to three households.

Officials had said that if the county averages more than 4,000 newly reported cases a day for a five-day period — or 1,750 hospitalizations — it would end in-person dining entirely; restaurants would only be able to offer food for takeout and delivery. If cases or hospitalizations reach 4,500 or 2,000, respectively, the county will go on lockdown and impose a stay-at-home order for three weeks.

However, county public health Director Barbara Ferrer said businesses would be given several days’ warning before the rules are enacted.

Hospitalizations, too, are posting dramatic increases, up to 1,391 on Saturday — the highest since August — representing a major increase from a month ago when daily hospitalizations were around 730. About 26% of patients are being treated in intensive-care units, officials said.

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Over the past four days, the county has reported 17,769 new cases for a four-day average of 4,442. Sunday’s report will be closely monitored as officials watch for a five-day average that would switch on the tougher rules.

Thursday saw the county’s highest daily case count since the pandemic began with 5,031 cases reported.

Saturday’s county update did not include new figures from Long Beach or Pasadena, which operate their own health departments. Pasadena’s 30  new cases raised its total since the pandemic began to 3,311; its death toll of 131 did not change. Long Beach did not update its dashboard Saturday; as of Friday, the city had reported 14,999 cases and 270 deaths.

Another 34 deaths were also reported Saturday. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 7,429 people in L.A. County and more than 250,000 people nationwide.

“We send our deepest sympathies to the families and friends that are grieving a loved one lost to COVID-19,” said Ferrer. “Although this pandemic seems like it will never end, I assure you that it will. We thank everyone who is working hard and has incorporated public health guidance into their daily lives. We ask everyone to renew their efforts to slow …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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