On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti asked residents of his city to “just stay home”.
When hospital stays in LA Covid-19 hit an all-time high and beds in the intensive care unit are expected to be scarce in the coming weeks, Garcetti said clearly: “It’s time to cancel everything.”
Garcetti admonished LA residents, saying, “Don’t meet anyone outside of your household. Don’t hold meetings. Don’t go to meetings. Just stay home. “
Garcetti was referring to a statement by Dr. Anthony Fauci this week, warning of “a December wave on a Thanksgiving wave on a Christmas wave”. Two of these waves could already peak.
On Tuesday, health officials confirmed 7,593 new infections in the county, beating the previous high of 6,124 seen last week. The daily test positivity rate on Wednesday was 12% versus 7% a little over a week ago. This indicates that the virus is infecting more people faster than ever in LA, despite the county running more tests than ever before.
California Coronavirus Update: Daily Cases Explode, Set Record; Governor Newsom shortly before issuing a strict shutdown order as a leap in numbers
Los Angeles county health director Barbara Ferrer reported 5,987 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 414,185. There are 2,439 people who have been hospitalized with Covid-19, the highest level in the entire pandemic.
Daily COVID-19 update:
December 2, 2020
New cases: 5,987 (previously 414,185)
New deaths: 40 (previously 7,740)
Current hospital stays: 2,439 pic.twitter.com/wQBT0j5pFm
– LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 3, 2020
The hospital numbers are worrying as California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that LA could be out of intensive care units by mid-December – see chart below. Newsom also strongly suggested that the state introduce stricter home stays. That looked even more likely after CA reported a record number of new cases on Wednesday, about 1/3 higher than the mark set last week.
Intensive Care Unit Projections Relating to Covid-19 in California
That feeling was confirmed on Wednesday by Christina Ghaly, the director of health and human services in Los Angeles. She said while the local hospital system still had 963 beds available, the number of ICU beds had dropped to 122. That is 122 intensive care beds for a district with 10 million inhabitants.
Personnel, not beds, is the critical issue in the intensive care unit. Specially trained nurses and doctors are not easy to come by. Given the current number and current “scarce” staff, Ghaly said the county models show, “We will have a shortage of ICU beds for the next 2-4 weeks.” An insufficient number of ICU beds means that people who need intensive care will not receive it and a larger percentage of Covid-19 patients will die.
40 new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the county on Wednesday, a total of 7,740 to date. Commenting on deaths, Garcetti noted, “We know this number is a lagging indicator and we expect it to go up.” Ferrer said earlier in the day that the trend had already started.
“We are now seeing a sharp increase in daily deaths,” she said. “Knowing that these deaths reflect the number of cases a month ago, as cases continue to rise, we should all be extremely concerned about what this means for daily deaths.”
See Mayor Garcetti’s speech below.
We are facing a difficult winter, COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country and we are at a serious point. Every action we take now has critical consequences. Tonight I update you on the latest developments regarding the pandemic and our response. https://t.co/nvXFHp0UMN
– MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 3, 2020