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LA County sees big spike in coronavirus: 2,551 new cases in one day

Luke Money, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Daily COVID-19 deaths remain relatively low — at an average of about four in L.A. County and 23 statewide, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the alarming increases, L.A. County has yet to come close to the harrowing heights seen during the winter surge, when an average of about 15,000 new cases were being reported every day and more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized.

But given the presence of the delta variant, which is believed to be twice as transmissible as the conventional coronavirus strains, officials have already taken steps to try to rein in transmission — re-instituting a requirement for all residents to wear masks while in indoor public settings, regardless of their vaccination status.

“By adding a mask requirement for everyone indoors, the risk for transmission of the virus will be reduced, and with increases in the number of people getting vaccinated, we should be able to get back to slowing the spread,” Ferrer said in a statement Wednesday.

Officials maintain that those who have been vaccinated have strong protection against the coronavirus, including the delta variant.

L.A. County is far from the only corner of California that is contending with COVID-19’s latest punch.

Over the past week, the state has reported an average of nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases a day, more than quadruple the number from a month ago, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times.

In late June, the state was recording about 6,000 new cases a week, according to a Times analysis. At the peak of the pandemic, the state was recording more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases over a seven-day period.

In light of the increases, one-third of California counties are now urging even fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. But L.A. County and the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena — which have their own independent health departments — are the only areas that have said they will mandate it.

 

Just this week, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Ventura, Lake and San Joaquin counties joined the list of those asking even fully vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings as a precaution while inside places including grocery stores, movie theaters and retail outlets.

Officials in most of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as Sacramento, Yolo and Fresno counties, also now recommend that people wear masks indoors.

Officials hope that masking up in those areas will slow the spread — but it will take weeks to know for sure. Should those measures prove insufficient, it’s possible more restrictions could become necessary.

Even without action from the state, about 60% of Californians now live in a county that either recommends or requires indoor masking for everyone.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has been asked several times this week about the possibility of issuing new state masking guidance or mandates and has consistently responded that he doesn’t believe that step will be necessary — provided sufficient numbers of Californians get their shots.

“The answer to the delta variant is rather simple: Get vaccinated. We don’t have to have masking if we all got vaccinated,” he told reporters Tuesday.

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(Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.)

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.