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Twenty-eight more people have died of COVID-19 across Los Angeles County and 1,285 new coronavirus infections have been confirmed, officials said Saturday.
The numbers, reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, bring the countywide pandemic death toll to 6,768 people, with 281,165 confirmed cases.
In 72% of the new cases, those who tested positive were under 50 years old, the department said.
Of the 28 deaths, the department said, 22 people had underlying health conditions. One of the fatalities involved a person between 18 and 29 years old, while two people were between 30 and 49, seven were between 50 and 64, nine were between 65 and 79, and nine were over 80, the department said.
"Please remember that even young people can have serious illness if infected with this virus and have severe outcomes," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news release. Ferrer recommend the use of masks, social distancing and avoiding nonessential activities.
The department said 93% of the fatalities involve people with underlying health problems. The LA County numbers do not include Pasadena, where the reported deaths are now 129, and Long Beach, where the number is 249.
The department urged bars and restaurants that might be airing sports not to allow customers to congregate around the televisions.
Experts say it is too soon to characterize the increase in cases in Los Angeles County as a surge, of the kind that accompanied rapid business reopenings over the summer. The state is now relying on a tiered reopening strategy, and in L.A. County, where businesses such as breweries and wineries have been allowed to reopen outdoors, the high case count has kept it at Tier 1.
Across the country, some 40,000 new cases of COVID-19 are reported every day. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-diseases expert, said this week that the pandemic could get worse in the winter and persist through much of next year. He warned that a vaccine won't return the country to pre-pandemic conditions but predicted "some degree of normality" in the second half of 2021.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.