Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reported 1,030 new coronavirus cases and 10 related deaths but said hospitalizations continue to decline.
To date, the county has recorded 240,749 positive coronavirus cases and 5,769 deaths.
There were 1,089 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals as of Sunday — the lowest number since early May — with 32% in intensive care. That represented a decline of about 50% from mid-July, when hospitalizations reached 2,200, officials said.
“It is evident we are making progress, and this is a testament to the collective efforts of so many,” Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said in a statement. “As we evaluate how to best continue our recovery journey without experiencing the spikes we saw in July, we need to consider the magnitude of increased exposures created with each sector reopening.”
Though progress is being made, the county must slow its transmission rate considerably in order for more businesses to reopen and activities to resume. On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new four-tier system that requires counties to show consistent success in stemming the transmission of the coronavirus before allowing businesses greater flexibility to reopen.
Los Angeles and most other counties in Southern California were placed in the most restrictive category, Tier 1, which means that transmission of the virus is widespread and most nonessential businesses must be closed. In order to move into a less restrictive tier, a county must have no more than seven new cases per 100,000 people per day and a test positivity rate of 8% or less. The county must meet those benchmarks for two consecutive weeks before progressing.
For the week ending Aug. 18, L.A. County reported a daily average of 12.7 cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 5%, according to the state.