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Morning Briefing: A ‘Horrifying Surge’

A sign guides drivers to the entrance of a drive through COVID-19 test site in Crenshaw. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

On the heels of Tuesday’s record-setting 7,593 new cases of coronavirus in L.A. County, another 5,987 new positive tests were announced yesterday.

The county’s director of public health, Barbara Ferrer – whose home drew protesters over the weekend to oppose the new stay-at-home order – peppered yesterday’s briefing with adjectives intended to drive home the seriousness of the current situation. She talked about the “alarming” numbers of COVID-19 cases, the “terrifying” increases and the “horrifying” surge.

The numbers to which she’s referring are indeed staggering. L.A. County saw its daily case average rise from 1,223 to 3,976 between Nov. 1-22. Over the past week and a half, it skyrocketed to over 5,300.

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Along with other officials, Ferrer is concerned that hospitals will reach their maximum capacity, leaving healthcare workers and people who have tested positive at risk. Explaining that “maximum capacity” isn’t fixed, but rather varies based on staffing capability, patient numbers and more, Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, added that current modeling indicates “we will have a shortage of ICU beds over the next four weeks.”

“We all have to do our part to limit spread so that we don't end up in the situation that is projected in some of those models,” she said, “a situation that could be dangerous for patients and for staff alike.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, December 3

Help Dolly Parton ring in the holidays, chow down on a Foo Fighters taco, create art alongside Kid Koala, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

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Coronavirus Updates: Los Angeles County officials reported 5,987 new confirmed cases of coronavirus yesterday, bringing the total to at least 414,185 cases to date countywide. The county will begin mailing COVID-19 test kits to people who have mobility issues, be they disabled or elderly.

Outdoor Dining Controversy: Officials with several Los Angeles County cities, including Beverly Hills, Lancaster, West Covina and Whittier are so mad about the current outdoor dining ban that they're thinking of launching their own health departments. The county’s Department of Public Health must provide evidence about COVID-19 transmission that would justify its ban on outdoor dining.

Immigration: An updated U.S. citizenship test with harder questions took effect this week.

Wildfire Season: The National Weather Service is saying conditions are "particularly dangerous" for a wind-driven fire right now, with strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity. In anticipation of potential fast-moving blazes, the Los Angeles County Fire Department is sending out strike teams to problem areas so that they can respond quickly to any fire.

Final Good-Byes: Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson, who helped bring the 1984 Summer Games to Los Angeles – and helped to apprehend the assassin who shot Robert F. Kennedy – has died at age 86.

Food And Films: Ghost kitchens live and die by delivery, and they’re on a roll during the pandemic. The Sundance Film Festival will be almost completely virtual, with “Satellite Screens” at drive-ins and independent theaters across the country, including L.A.

Photo of the Day

A fried chicken sandwich from Luther Bob's, which operates out of a ghost kitchen.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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