LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County continued to report a surge in coronavirus cases Sunday, tallying 3,322 new cases of the virus and 18 related deaths.
With that, the county has now recorded a total of more than 133,700 cases and 3,800 deaths.
The continued rise comes as the death toll from the coronavirus in California soared above 7,000 over the weekend, with the infection rate continuing to worsen.
Hospitalizations also continue to climb, both statewide and in L.A. County. As of Sunday, there were 2,093 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals, with 26% in intensive care and 19% on ventilators, officials said. About a month ago, hospitalizations were ranging from 1,350 to 1,450 each day.
The most recent three-day average of the daily number of hospitalized patients represented an increase of about 24%, according to the Department of Public Health dashboard that tracks reopening metrics.
The percentage of test results coming back positive also has increased, which experts say indicates an uptick in community transmission. As of Sunday, 1,336,000 people had been tested, with 9% testing positive. The seven-day average of the county's daily test positivity rate has risen to 10%, officials said Friday.
The increases have alarmed public health officials and prompted concern that the hospital system could become overwhelmed.
"We have been battling this virus for several months and I know that 'COVID fatigue' is a very real thing," Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said in a statement. "I want to encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use all the tools we have to prevent further transmission of the virus."
Those include physical distancing, wearing face coverings and washing hands frequently, she said.
Officials believe the increase in transmission started around the week of Memorial Day and have attributed it to more people being in contact with one another due to more workplaces reopening and more social gatherings taking place.
In an attempt to limit the increase, the county partially rolled back its economic reopening on orders from the state. Bars were made to shut down again June 28, and restaurants were told to stop offering in-person dining July 1.
Meanwhile, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has warned that the city could reimpose a mandatory stay-at-home order if conditions continue to worsen.
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