Los Angeles County public health officials reported 2,055 new cases of COVID-19 and 48 related deaths Saturday, marking the third-highest daily case count since the pandemic began.
Officials attributed the high number in part to delays in lab reporting.
Long Beach, which has its own public health department, reported an additional 48 cases and two deaths, bringing the county’s total to more than 81,000 cases and more than 3,100 deaths.
“While the most critical numbers for us to watch are daily hospitalizations and deaths, and these numbers remain stable, we are mindful that positive cases across the county have increased, and this reflects both high rates of testing and increased community transmission over the past few weeks,” Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County health director, said in a statement.
“Many businesses and spaces reopened in the last month, and residents have found themselves in crowded situations at boardwalks, bars and protests.”
As of Saturday, nearly 916,000 people had been tested and received their results, with about 8% testing positive. That positivity rate has remained roughly the same for several weeks.
There were 1,406 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals Saturday, with 29% in intensive care units and 22% on ventilators. That was a slight decline from the day before, when there were 1,446 patients.
That comes as the county continues to relax stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Officials permitted a wider swath of businesses to reopen Friday, including bars, nail salons and tattoo parlors.
Ferrer issued a reminder Saturday that contact with people outside one’s household increases the risk of coronavirus transmission.
“This is why it is more important than ever to do what we know slows the spread of the virus: Always wear a face covering and keep six feet or more of distance from others not in your household, wash hands frequently, self-isolate if you’re positive for COVID-19 and quarantine if you’re a close contact of someone who tested positive,” she said. “This is how we protect each other in the weeks ahead.”
In Orange County, where mask rules have prompted protests and clashes, officials on Saturday reported 413 new cases of COVID-19, the county’s highest single-day total by far. Previously, the county reported a high of 297 new cases on June 14.
The county, which also recorded 10 more fatalities Saturday, has logged a total of 9,988 cases and 267 related deaths.
As the number of cases has ticked upward, testing has also increased, with the county performing an average of 3,800 per day as of Thursday, compared with 2,200 tests per day in early May.
Still, the seven-day average number of daily hospitalizations has also been rising steadily, from 202 in early May to 319 on Friday. According to a Los Angeles Times analysis, Orange County also experienced a 76% jump in ICU hospitalizations in the last six weeks.
As of Saturday, a total of 321 COVID-19 patients were in county hospitals, with 135 in intensive care. That was a slight drop from Tuesday, when county hospitals saw a high of 345 COVID-19 patients.
Earlier this week, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett attributed some of the uptick to outbreaks in skilled nursing homes. She also noted that about two dozen patients in Orange County hospitals were from Imperial County.
Imperial County has the state’s highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases and has seen an influx of hospitalizations, prompting officials to transfer patients to hospitals in other counties to ease the burden on the local healthcare system. Sixty-three patients from Imperial County are being treated at Riverside County hospitals, officials said Wednesday.
Times staff writers Hannah Fry and Kailyn Brown contributed to this report.