‘The worst is yet to come’ – LA County projects exacerbate COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – Again, Los Angeles County reports devastating new numbers of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, indicating that the increase after Thanksgiving continues to worsen as the holiday season arrives.

The county reported 145 new deaths Wednesday, the highest day in a day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The county also reported 16,525 new cases of coronavirus, the highest number except for one day earlier this month, which included a backlog of older cases.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the county Department of Health Services, warned hospitals of extreme difficulties in dealing with the wave of patients, affecting their ability to treat them as well as dealing with non-coronavirus emergencies and surgeries.
She said cases will continue to rise after the holidays. Between November 1 and January 31, the department projects about 8,700 deaths from COVID-19.

“We have never seen daily deaths so high during the pandemic, and the model predicts the worst is yet to come,” Ghaly said.

“How high these cases go, and how overwhelmed our hospitals and healthcare professionals get – and how many people will die because of COVID because COVID has pushed all the air out of their lungs and the machines can not push it in anymore – all this is up to us, ”Ghaly said.

As Christmas and New Year approach, the county’s health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer people about avoiding gathering in groups and traveling out of the area.

But she acknowledged that many are likely to ignore these warnings. For those traveling out of the county and mingling with others, she urged them to be quarantined for 10 days when they return to avoid spreading the virus to others.

The county has at least 6,155 COVID-19 patients admitted, although the state estimates the number at 6,499.

“This coronavirus has improved our lives, our daily routines,” Ferrer said. “It required huge sacrifices as people tackle devastating economic losses.”

Other details from Wednesday’s briefing:

  • Total deaths in Los Angeles County: 9,016
  • Total cases since the start of the pandemic: 647,542
  • Current positivity rate: 14%
  • Average daily new hospital admissions: 750
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