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Surge Is So Bad, LA Public Health Officials Recommend Some Residents Wear Masks At Home

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(Courtesy LA County Dept. Of Public Health)
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Every minute in Los Angeles County, about 10 people test positive for coronavirus; and every eight minutes, someone dies from the virus.

Those calculations are adding up to what health officials are calling the county's "worst disaster in decades." And with more than 12,000 new cases reported Monday, L.A. County is quickly approaching 1 million cumulative cases since the first positive coronavirus case was confirmed nearly a year ago on Jan. 26.

The rate of spread has become so rampant that county public health director Barbara Ferrer says officials are now recommending that anyone who lives with someone who may be vulnerable to COVID-19 should wear a face covering at home:

"If you're a worker who's leaving every day, or [if] you're somebody who has to run the essential errands in your family, it will just add a layer of protection while we get through this surge."

Ferrer explained why increased vigilance was needed.
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"We've always known that it's much easier to transmit this virus indoors than it is outdoors, particularly when people are in close contact," she said, "and while many families have figured out ways to protect older people and people who have underlying health conditions — there's so much transmission right now. And we strongly recommend you also keep that face covering on."

That recommendation was startling because previous advice had been: "Everyone is asked to wear a face covering when they are interacting with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces."

Officials on Monday also reported an additional 137 deaths, putting the cumulative death toll at over 12,000.

More than 1,500 people have died from COVID-19 complications in the past week alone, and the average number of daily deaths has skyrocketed more than 1,100% since the surge began in November.

OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

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Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Tuesday, Jan. 12.

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This story was updated Jan. 13 with additional details about the county's new recommendation and updates charts.

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