COVID-19 cases have been climbing at an alarming rate for weeks, reaching a new high of 18,350 on Tuesday, surpassing the previous record of more than 15,000 cases reported on Saturday, state officials said.
The seven-day average of positive tests rose from 5.3% to 6.5% last week. The 14-day average rose from 4.8% to 5.9%.
Officials have been discussing the increase in cases with increasing alarm in recent days, urging people to stay home and rethink Thanksgiving gatherings with people outside their homes.
“We are very, very worried,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, a tester for COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. “All the indicators we follow, which have done well in previous months, are now rising very steeply. Our positivity is growing in our county and especially in the communities most affected. “
Almost across the state, curfews are in place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and are subject to the most stringent business regulations, including a ban on indoor dining and limited store capacity.
But Los Angeles went even further. As cases soared last week, he ordered restaurants to stop eating after Wednesday night and placed another home order.
The highest daily number of cases was also recorded in Santa Clara and Sacramento counties on Tuesday. Sacramento reported nearly 1,000 new infections, tripling the level barely a month ago. Santa Clara, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, had more than 500 cases, a third higher than the previous record for the summer.
Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in Los Angeles, outlined the future home stay order to county supervisors on Tuesday and said there was no time to wait for action.
On Wednesday, however, other county health officials said they were still awaiting the order and not negotiating a timetable for the first such order since March, which would likely rank residents on Thanksgiving.
In Los Angeles County, about one-third of all COVID-19 cases were in California and 40% of deaths. It disproportionately affected Latin and black people.
Despite its reputation for expansion, Los Angeles has some of the densest environments in the United States. In many of these areas, there are multi-generational households where workers who do not have the luxury of telecommuting are exposed to the virus in the workplace or on public transportation and then spread it to family members.
If the infections are uncontrollable, options beyond the new home stay to keep the virus under control are more burdensome and unlikely to be used in the United States, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
China, for example, has tested millions of people and carried out quarantines. Italy brought in the military to stop police.
“It’s hard to imagine how far you can go in a society like ours,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?” You want people to obey that, but you don’t want to be so draconian that people are constantly trying to figure out the circumstances.
One element that has challenged public health officials is implementation. Some county sheriffs said they would not abide by the rules of masks or the curfew.
However, Santa Clara County officials said they would step up enforcement.
With the start of the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, compliance officials will be enthusiastic across the county from Thursday to at least Sunday to make sure businesses are complying with capacity rules and that employees and customers are wearing masks and staying away.
Firefighters who validate the capacity in general help businesses check for compliance and call enforcement officers, who impose health fines on the spot starting at $ 250 and ranging from thousands of dollars to violators. There will no longer be a grace period for business owners to deal with the warning, ”said Michael Balliet, director of community and business relations in Santa Clara County.
“We are now at the point where it is vital to ensure accountability at all levels,” Balliet said.
In Los Angeles, Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of health services, said infections spread to such an extent that they double every two weeks and quadruple in a month.
He said the multiplier was particularly worrying as thousands of cases were discovered every day and there were fewer and fewer hospital beds due to the looming crisis.
Currently, one in 145 people in LA County is contagious to others, he said. He asked residents not to gather with people outside their homes to prevent his transfer.
“Any gathering where there are any number of people offers a very realistic opportunity for spread,” he said. “If you have a gathering of 15 people at a dinner table, then in every 10 of these tables, there may be an episode where you unconsciously infect others and offer an opportunity to spread the virus.”
This story has been corrected so that Silicon Valley firefighters don’t execute health orders but check for compliance.
Rodriguez reported from San Francisco. Daisy Nguyen, an Associated Press journalist in Oakland, contributed to the report.