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LA County COVID-19 Cases Surpass 800,000

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Colorado Blvd. was quiet on New Year's Day for the first time in decades, as the Rose Parade was canceled because of concerns around the coronavirus. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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The number of new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles continues to soar.

On Saturday, the county surpassed 800,000 cases, which reflects the fastest spread of the virus since it was first detected in the area.

According to the county’s department of public health, L.A. reported 400,000 cases between Jan. 26 and Nov. 30, 2020. The following month, between Dec. 1 and Jan. 2, another 400,000 cases were reported, doubling the number of infections in just four weeks.

“The strategy for stopping the surge is fairly straightforward,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “When people stay away from other people, the virus cannot spread as it is doing now. The more we stay home and the more we avoid in-person activities with other people we don’t live with, the more we reduce the spread of the virus.”

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On Saturday, 138 new deaths and 15,701 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in L.A. County. The virus has proved fatal for a total of 10,682 people in the area since late January.

Part of Saturday’s death count was the result of a backlog.

Currently, 7,627 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 21% of those patients are in the ICU.

However, the remaining ICU capacity in Southern California is still at 0%. Ambulances carrying new patients to emergency rooms are forced to wait in their bays for up to seven or eight hours, resulting in patients being treated in the vehicles instead of in the hospital.

L.A. County public health officials said in a statement that, “[t]he only path that will reduce the demand on hospital care is to decrease the number of people becoming newly infected with COVID-19.”

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OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Saturday, Jan. 2:

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L.A. County coronavirus cases, as of Jan. 2, 2020.

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