California destroys COVID-19 records when surges worsen

As coronavirus cases continue to soar across the state, the split Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors rejected Tuesday’s call to lift outdoor eating restrictions that will slow the virus’s rapid spread.

There has been political friction over the crackdown on health officials ’restaurants and bars as the state has once again broken its records of new coronavirus cases and the number of Californian deaths due to COVID-19 has continued to rise at an expected rate. it will continue in the coming weeks, the state health secretary said Tuesday.

Earlier this week, LA county officials announced they would ban all personal meals for at least three weeks and restrict restaurants – including breweries, wineries and bars – to pick-up and delivery starting Wednesday at 10 p.m. The announcement came after the county’s five-day average for new coronavirus cases exceeded 4,000.

The move was greeted with anger and despair by restaurant tourists who set off from the pandemic. The outdoor meal offered a lifebelt and many owners and workers felt they were doing everything they could to keep their facilities safe.

The objections were given enough impetus to make way for the five-member county board, which at its meeting on Tuesday raised the eating ban and considered an emergency proposal to lift it, despite what county health officials deemed necessary.

Superintendent Kathryn Barger, who has much of Santa Clarita and Northern LA County in her fifth district, said the suspension “punishes a sector that bears the burden unfairly” – adding that she is “concerned that this county is approached. locked unless we have a good reason to open it. “

“I feel that what is happening today is really destroying not only the workers but their families as well,” he said. “And I can’t support something with a good conscience that data can’t support.”

Supervisors Barger and Janice Hahn also questioned the need for a ban on eating and put forward a proposal calling on the board to comply with current restrictions that allow restaurants and bars to fill their outdoor seats by 10 p.m. half.

The motion was voted down, with supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas opposing it.

They decided to stick to the ban on eating after hearing county health officials who said that while it was difficult to say for sure how much personal meals had contributed to the jump in cases, it was clear that people gathering with others outside their immediate vicinity were families. and the removal of eating masks increased the risk of new infections

“This is the only business that allows its customers to remain undisclosed for a long time,” Kuehl said. – And I think that’s enough, so highlight it there. We tried, but the numbers went up.

Solis, whose first district has the most severely affected communities in East LA, urged his colleagues to listen to public health experts.

“We’ll see the actual impact of hospital treatment, maybe not at this minute, but certainly in the next two to three weeks,” he said.

Solis said he was in a private hospital over the weekend because his mother had a health problem and was alarmed by what he saw.

“I’ve never seen ER corridors completely full in my life,” Solis said. “There was no free room to treat COVID patients. That was very shocking to me.

Whichever side of the debate it was, it was clear that supervisors did not expect further action to be envisaged so soon.

Hahn, who has several coastal towns in his fourth district, said when the board agreed to the restrictions put forward by the public health department at a closed session last week, he thought LA ​​county was “weeks away” from reaching those figures.

“I sincerely hoped that with our first six recommendations that we introduced, we could avoid that point,” Hahn said.

LA County, like the state as a whole, is struggling with an avalanche of coronavirus cases, which officials warn will lead to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

“Of course, the number of deaths is likely to increase. As we transcend the highest number of cases to date and begin to see our COVID-pressed hospital systems beyond where they were ever harassed, so is the idea that the death toll could exceed where we used to be real and true, ”he said Tuesday. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The state registered 20,654 cases on Monday, easily surpassing the previous 13,400 infections. LA County reported more than 6,000 new cases, which was also a daily record.

“We’re really in the middle of a surge here in California,” Ghaly said.

Across the state, the daily average of new coronavirus cases, over a seven-day period, has more than doubled in the past two weeks. Most counties in California also reported the same double or worse situation.

In southeastern California, Imperial County, the daily average of coronavirus cases has nearly quadrupled in the past two weeks. This county was forced to set up a 50-bed tent to help treat surges in COVID-19 patients and asked for a dozen additional health workers, including 33 intensive care nurses, three laboratory scientists, 21 emergency nurses and six respiratory nurses. therapists, officials said last week.

In the Imperial County, the coronavirus test positivity rate doubled in one month, from 10.5% to 23.8%.

Between Nov. 1 and Monday, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country doubled, Ghaly said, from about 2,500 to more than 5,800. Intensive care units in some hospitals “are already under significant pressure,” he added.

“When the number doubles in just over three weeks, we worry,” Ghaly said.

The huge increase in new infections has moved the state to uncharted territory, far exceeding the number of new infections that the state counted a few weeks ago.

During the five-day period ending October 23, 24,263 new cases of coronavirus were registered in California, according to data compiled by The Times. There have been 65,168 cases in the last five days.

The proportion of tests that return positively to the coronavirus, the benchmark known as the test positivity rate, has increased dramatically by more than 50%. More than 5.5% of the 14-day tests ending Tuesday were positive, up from 3.7% two weeks ago.

The number of cases skyrocketing is the latest sign that California has entered a critical moment, just before Thanksgiving.

“Records are shattered by the number of people whose lives are shattered by COVID-19,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

Officials hope the restrictions introduced last week will slow the unprecedented spread of the virus and that residents will avoid the big Thanksgiving gatherings that experts fear will further intensify infections.

“There’s too much broadcasting going on here in this county right now – too much broadcasting with too many people meeting too many,” Garcetti said at a briefing. “So the solution is simple; we can and can do: Keep each other away. Suppose everyone sees it as contagious and please don’t make this Thanksgiving the deadliest day of a pandemic.

Last week, state officials announced a new ordinance banning most non-core activities outside the home from 10 to 5 p.m. in the counties, at the strictest “purple” level of the state’s color-coded reopening schedule. Roughly 95% of Californians, including those in the southern third of the state, are covered by this regulation, which runs until December 21, although it can be extended.

“We hope we’ll just need that, but we’ll see,” Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday. “We are open-minded about the dynamics of real-time changing circumstances.”

As the wave of new cases climbs, officials warn that it will eventually collapse in the health care system. Authorities estimate that about 12% of cases go to hospital in two to three weeks – a potentially untreatable number of patients if the number of cases remains high.

Last week, LA county officials warned that hospitals were at risk of overcrowding. Garcetti said Monday that “at this rate, our hospitals will not have an extra bed at Christmas.”

“Los Angeles is on a very dangerous path,” he said. “And if we don’t change our daily lives soon, we’ll have more infections, more suffering, more hospital care, and yes, more deaths.”

LA county residents are already dying faster and faster from COVID-19. According to a recent analysis by the Times, an average of 26 deaths per day were reported in a seven-day period, more than double the number experienced in early November.

At this rate, the number of deaths in California as a whole will double just before spring, with the current 18,700 deaths exceeding 37,000 by March 1, according to a forecast from the University of Washington Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation.

Amid the growing wave, LA County is getting closer to another shutdown.

Officials said last week that if the average number of new coronavirus cases per day in a five-day period reaches 4,500, it will trigger some sort of new stay order for at least three weeks.

Monday’s record number of reported cases was enough to cross the county on that average. However, it is not yet clear what form the new order will take. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday: “We are sure we will not return to all the restrictions that were in place in the original ‘Safer Home’.”

He described restrictions that would be less comprehensive than the restrictions issued in March. Needless to be so broad, he suggested, because officials know more about the virus and testing capacity has improved. The specifics will be discussed Tuesday with the five-member supervisory committee, which represents the county’s 10.1 million residents.

The severity of the current peak has already brought significant new constraints at the county and state levels.

Prior to Thanksgiving, California issued a travel council urging residents not to leave the state for the holiday and recommending that those who are quarantined for 14 days on their return.

Starting Wednesday, travelers at Los Angeles and Van Nuys airports as well as Union Station will have to fill out an online form before or on arrival, acknowledging the advice, Garcetti said.

Garcetti, however, urged all Angeleno to stay as home as possible until the wave eased.

“If everyone follows these rules, if everyone takes them seriously – these small but critical victims – then we will experience that,” he said. “We’re not asking you to take up arms and go overseas to wage war.” We do not examine the sacrifices made by the generations ahead. We just ask you to stay home.