Coronavirus hospitalizations in Los Angeles and Orange counties have dropped over the last week, which may be evidence that actions taken to limit the virus’ spread are working, public health officials said Sunday.
There were 1,784 confirmed coronavirus patients in L.A. County hospitals Saturday compared with 2,017 last Saturday, a drop of nearly 12%, according to the Los Angeles Times’ coronavirus tracker.
Orange County reported 19% fewer coronavirus patients in its hospitals — 554 Saturday versus 687 a week before.
“We are hopeful that collective actions taken over the past couple of weeks have allowed us to get back to the work of slowing the spread,” Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, said in a statement. “It is important to keep in mind that we will need to continue with all the modifications and sacrifices for weeks to come.”
The encouraging news comes roughly three weeks after officials ordered the most recent round of business closures amid a resurgence of new coronavirus cases in Southern California, with churches in many counties told to stop indoor worship, and gyms, indoor shopping malls and personal care services ordered to shut down. Many counties had already been ordered to halt indoor restaurant dining and shut down bars and nightclubs about two weeks before that.
L.A. County reported 1,476 new cases of the virus and 23 deaths Sunday, though the public health department noted in a news release that new cases and deaths are typically lower on the weekend because some labs report data only on weekdays. The county has now tallied more than 192,000 cases of the virus, and nearly 4,700 people have died.
Orange County recorded 651 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths Sunday, bringing its total to 37,391 cases and 651 deaths.
Despite the slight signs of improvement, it’s important for people to remain vigilant in guarding against the virus’ spread, officials said.
“With increased contact among non-household members, there are many more opportunities for transmission of COVID-19, particularly when public health directives are not followed,” Ferrer said. “We’re safer in the community only if we follow the very specific directives issued by public health.”
They include wearing face coverings, keeping six feet away from others and not attending gatherings with people outside of one’s household, she said.
Businesses are also required to put in place infection-control protocols and report outbreaks to the health department.