USA

L.A. County sees 'alarming' rise in coronavirus hospitalizations, infection rates

In what officials Saturday described as an “alarming” increase, hospitalizations of patients with confirmed coronavirus infections in Los Angeles County have jumped 41% in the last three weeks.

On Friday, there were 1,947 patients in L.A. County hospitals with confirmed coronavirus infections; seven days earlier, there were 1,717; the week before that, there were 1,426; and the week prior to that, there were 1,383.

The number of patients with confirmed coronavirus infections in the intensive care unit are up 35% in the last two weeks; on Saturday, 549 people were in the ICU; last Saturday there were 446, and the week before that there were 408.

On Monday, L.A. County officials warned about “alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalization” and projected the possibility of running out of hospital beds in two to three weeks; the number of ICU beds could be exhausted sometime in July.

“If the trajectory continues, the number of ICU beds — our most limited resource — is likely to become inadequate in the near future,” said a memo issued Saturday by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to healthcare providers.

The county warned healthcare providers that officials are “concerned that acute care hospitals will need to begin implementing decompression plans and prepare for another wave of cases.”

The memo said that acute care hospitals in L.A. County were asked on June 26 “to review their decompression plans and prepare for another wave of hospitalizations.”

The spike in coronavirus cases around the state has sparked alarm.

Officials had feared a July 4 weekend of crowded beaches, barbecues, parties and packed restaurants would cause a surge in new infections, further overwhelming already filling hospitals. Data showed that California’s COVID-19 surge began during the Memorial Day weekend as people stuck inside for months decided to get back to old routines.

But it appears that dire warnings as well as new restrictions had the intended effect, with July 4 crowds noticeably down at beaches, parks and other locations.

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