LOS ANGELES (CN) — Los Angeles County saw nearly 7,600 Covid-19 infections Tuesday — the highest number of new cases reported in a single day — and a record number of people hospitalized with the virus.
The news comes as state leaders mull over new lockdown measures aimed at stemming viral transmission.
The LA County Department of Public Health reported 7,593 people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The figure eclipses the previous high of 6,124 cases reported Nov. 23.
LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday the new infection total shows the virus is spreading more rapidly than ever before but that the situation will likely worsen in days to come without immediate action.
“Today, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is the worst day thus far of the Covid-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County. However, it will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County,” Ferrer said. “That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase.”
Across the Golden State, the rate of viral spread has surpassed what was seen in July, when a huge wave of infections triggered a tightening of lockdown measures.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a virtual briefing Monday both the wave of new infections and a record number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 signal the state’s health care system could be overwhelmed by Christmas.
The state’s rolling daily average of new cases has spiked to a record 14,600, shattering the previous high of 9,800 set during the summer surge. Hospitalizations have also spiked statewide by 89% over the last two weeks.
California Health and Human Services chief Mark Ghaly said in the briefing the figures don’t yet reflect cases originating from Thanksgiving gatherings and that a percentage of those eventual infections will impact hospitals in the coming weeks.
State health officials forecast hospitalizations will double or triple in the wake of Thanksgiving celebrations.
Newsom acknowledged Monday his administration is considering stay-at-home orders for the over 50 counties currently in the most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening framework. The counties represent over 99% of the state’s population.
California became the first state to implement a statewide lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, requiring residents to stay indoors except for exercise and essential employment.
LA County leaders implemented a stay-at-home order Monday that bans most outdoor gatherings and limits how many customers businesses can serve in person. The orders come after the county recorded over 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single month.
On Tuesday, Ferrer offered condolences to the families and loved ones of the 46 LA County residents who died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The county has lost 7,700 people to the virus so far.
“To the families that are mourning their loved one who has passed away from Covid-19, we wish you healing and peace,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer urged residents to recognize the “huge magnitude” of both the pandemic and the current surge in infections and to abide by public health orders to wear masks and physically distance from others.
“This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives,” Ferrer said.