With another three dozen deaths, Los Angeles County crossed the 3,000 mark in coronavirus fatalities Thursday, while health officials announced another round of business reopenings, including nail salons, bars, tattoo parlors and card rooms.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced 36 more deaths due COVID-19, although two of those fatalities were reported Wednesday by health officials in Long Beach and Pasadena.
The new fatalities lifted the countywide death toll to 3,027.
The county also confirmed another 1,051 cases, while Long Beach reported 105 more and Pasadena added 16, giving the county an overall total of 78,348.
As of Thursday, there were 1,429 people hospitalized in the county, with 29% of those patients in intensive care units.
Also Thursday, the county again loosened its coronavirus health restrictions, allowing more businesses to reopen beginning Friday, provided they meet required safety protocols. The businesses cleared to reopen are:
-- card rooms, satellite wagering facilities and racetracks with no spectators;
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-- personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, body art studios, piercing shops, massage therapy, skin care and cosmetology business; and
-- bars, wineries, breweries and tasting rooms.
County officials stressed the need for individual businesses to meet required protocols before reopening. Employers and customers will be required to wear face coverings when around other people and maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
Los Angeles County has had a long-standing order requiring residents to wear masks whenever they are mingling with other people outside of their own households. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday codified that order statewide, mandating face masks for people in practically all situations when they are outside of their homes and near other people.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday afternoon that five more workers at the SoFi Stadium construction site in Inglewood had tested positive for the virus. According to The Times, two of them were working on the 6,000seat performance venue attached to the stadium, while another was working on the stadium's video board, another working in the pump house for an artificial lake and another working in the "Trailer Complex NFL Conference Room."
The stadium is listed on the county Department of Public Health website as a congregate setting being investigated due to multiple positive cases. As of Thursday, the stadium was listed on the website as having 13 positive cases, with the five new cases reported by The Times boosting that number to 18.
The number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County has slowly risen over the course of the week, but not dramatically. County health director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, however, the number has been generally holding steady, and is down dramatically from the early days of the pandemic.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county's health services director, said the local transmission rate has also remained stable, and there was no immediate fear of hospitals being overwhelmed with patients.
The rate of people who are tested who wind up being positive for COVID19 is also holding steady at 8%, officials said.
But they warned that people should not get complacent -- stressing the virus is still spreading in the community and residents need to keep taking precautions, even as the economy reopens.
"Given that the vast majority of those living in Los Angeles County are still susceptible to COVID-19 and the infection, we need to rely on a refined set of practices that allow us to get back to work and back to living our lives safely," Ghaly said.