Los Angeles County health officials reported 3,322 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 more deaths Sunday, bringing the county's totals to 133,549 cases and 3,809 fatalities.
Hospitalizations continue to rise, with 2,093 people currently hospitalized, 26% of them in intensive care units and 19% on ventilators. Those numbers remain substantially higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen four weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
"For many L.A. County residents this is a very difficult time as you mourn the loss of a loved one and we wish you healing and peace," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's director of public health. "We have been battling this virus for several months and I know that 'COVID fatigue' is a very real thing. I want to encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use all the tools we have to prevent further transmission of the virus. Closely following all protocols for physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings and washing hands frequently are crucial at this moment for preventing more serious illness and death from COVID-19."
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Testing results were available for more than 1.3 million people, with 9% testing positive.
The average daily positivity rate over the past seven days was at 10% as of Friday. That number is up from the 8.4% rate of about a week ago, but slightly below the 11.6% rate it reached earlier this week.
Of the 18 deaths reported Sunday, 14 people were over the age of 65.
Ferrer said multiple times this week that the increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations could lead to spiking numbers of deaths in the coming weeks.
On Thursday, she again warned that younger residents continue to drive the increasing numbers of infections, and those people can easily pass the infection to people more vulnerable to serious complications or death.
"Younger people infect everybody else,'' she said. "... They don't just get to choose, I'm only going to infect a low-risk person that I know is going to be able to tolerate COVID-19. That's not how it works. As a young person, you inadvertently, unknowingly could be infecting people even in your age cohort who then go on and infect somebody else who's at risk and actually may even die.''
Fears of the virus spreading among young people are particularly acute this weekend, with a heat wave driving up temperatures and leading to larger crowds at Southland beaches.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged residents Friday evening to continue taking precautions -- avoiding crowded places, confined spaces and close contact with others. He said get-togethers with people outside residents' own households are still prohibited under health orders.
"Gatherings large and small are a major source of spread,'' the mayor said.
County health officials and Garcetti warned this week that if the surge in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations continue, the county could see a return to tougher stay-at-home orders to slow the virus' spread.