As Los Angeles County recorded more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for the third straight day, health officials on Saturday again pleaded with residents to avoid large gatherings as the disease is “widespread and increasing” across the county.
Health officials confirmed 2,418 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 new deaths on Saturday, topping the previous day’s total and continuing to increase to levels the county hadn’t seen since August.
“Our metrics this week are concerning and confirm that transmission of COVID-19 is widespread and increasing in L.A. County,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in its statement.
As of Saturday, the county has reported a total of 319,977 positive cases of COVID-19 and 7,170 deaths.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus also climbed steadily this week, health officials said. The total has been stuck over 800 since Wednesday, well over the levels from the previous two months, when numbers slowly dipped and gave public health officials hope that the pandemic was easing.
As residents in L.A. County gathered in public either to celebrate or protest the wake of the election after Biden crossed 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania Saturday morning, county health officials worried about the spread of the coronavirus.
“With today’s announcement of the presidential election results, many of us may want to gather with others to share this moment. The safest way to share your sentiments is through virtual platforms that keep you socially connected and physically distant,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “Because we are still in the midst of a pandemic, we cannot afford to gather in ways that increase transmission of the virus.”
Ferrer also reminded residents that “we all have an obligation to protect each other from COVID-19,” adding that attending public celebrations and protests “will slow down our recovery and can result in more illness and deaths.”
Even as election officials counted votes this week, the U.S. set multiple new records for Covid-19 infections. Health officials reported 102,831 new cases on Wednesday, the first time the country’s case count topped 100,000. The country set another case record Thursday with 121,888, and yet another on Friday with over 126,480.