For the third day in a row, Los Angeles County broke its record for the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 amid a rapidly-accelerating, unprecedented surge in virus infections that has forced additional restrictions on businesses and private gatherings.
There were 2,572 patients with coronavirus being treated on Thursday — the most at hospitals in L.A. County on any given day since the pandemic began.
The average daily number of people hospitalized has climbed a whopping 94% in just two weeks, with Thursday’s number surpassing the previous record of 2,439 in hospitals on Wednesday and 2,316 the day before.
The new peak in hospitalization rates comes as California state officials announced a new stay-at-home order that is dependent on ICU bed capacity. Gov. Gavin Newsom said most of the state’s regions will likely have fewer than 15% of hospital beds available within a day or two — a threshold that would trigger the new restrictions.
It’s the state’s latest desperate attempt to stem the spread of a virus that once again threatens to overwhelm hospitals and health workers.
Hospital capacity numbers aren’t static, L.A. County Department of Health Services Dr. Christina Ghaly explained. The availability of beds changes as hospitals add more beds in their response to the surge. “However, that’s not an unlimited ability,” she added.
A staggering 7,854 new coronavirus infections were also reported in L.A. County on Thursday, marking another daily record in the pandemic. This tops the previous peak of 7,593 cases recorded just two days ago, when Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer dubbed Tuesday “the worst day thus far.”
“Human behavior” is mainly what’s fueling the county’s troubling new coronavirus surge, L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a Thursday news conference.
“Are the spikes in COVID-19 cases due to more testing? No. During a surge, the actual number of people getting sick with COVID-19 is increasing,” Davis said. “This is why we can’t relax. The faster we can reduce the transmission rate, the faster we can recover from this third wave of COVID-19 cases.”