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LA County Again Sees Record-High COVID-19 Daily Cases, Hospitalizations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Los Angeles County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soared past previous records on Tuesday.

A total of 7,593 new cases were confirmed, raising the cumulative case count to 408,396.

The number of new cases reported on Tuesday "significantly surpassed the previous high of 6,124 new cases seen last week, and signals that the virus is infecting more people at a faster rate than ever seen in L.A. County before," the county said in a statement.

Another 46 virus-related fatalities were also reported, bringing the death toll to 7,700.

Hospitalizations climbed to 2,316 — an all-time high for the county, exceeding the peak of 2,232 hospitalizations during the July surge. Of the hospitalizations, 24% of patients are in the ICU.

"Today is the worst day thus far of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County," Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "However, it will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County. That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase. Every resident and every business needs to take immediate action if we are to dampen this alarming surge. We are in the middle of an accelerating surge in a pandemic of huge magnitude. This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives."

Experts said that the current surge is not yet related to Thanksgiving travel. Local doctors expressed concern that the effects of holiday travel could make the situation much worse.

"The sudden rise that you're seeing is very concerning," said Dr. Raynald Samoa of City of Hope National Medical Center.

And while the reported deaths are making headlines, there are other concerns with contracting the virus that healthcare workers are warning about. Since COVID-19 is a new disease, experts do not yet know the longterm impacts of contracting the virus — even on those who are low risk.

On Monday, a limited stay-at-home order went into effect across the county, prohibiting all gatherings with members of more than one household and limiting capacity at all businesses.

Dr. Samoa said that, while it's clear that people are beginning to grow tired of these restrictions, it is important to continue adhering to them for now.

"I know that there is fatigue. I get that," he said. "But the fatigue is by no means as frustrating as seeing people die who should not die from this."

The daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased nearly every day since November 1 when the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 799, according to the county.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus is now at almost 12%, up from 7% a week ago, according to the county.

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