Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reported 694 new coronavirus cases and 29 more related deaths.
“To the many people experiencing the profound sadness of losing someone they love to COVID-19, we are deeply sorry,” Barbara Ferrer, the public health director, said in a statement.
Long Beach, which has its own public health department, reported an additional 27 cases of the virus, bringing the county’s total to 38,001 cases and 1,821 deaths.
The number of lab-confirmed coronavirus patients in L.A. County hospitals held steady at 1,648, with 26% in intensive care and 19% on ventilators.
The metric is one of several that officials are watching closely in order to determine when to relax additional stay-at-home restrictions.
As of Sunday, a total of 309,000 people had been tested for the coronavirus and received their results, with about 11% testing positive. That was up 11,000 from the day before but still suggests the county is falling short of its goal of performing 15,000 tests per day.
Though the overall number of cases continues to rise in L.A. County, the rate at which new cases are reported appears to have plateaued, even as testing has increased. The average number of deaths reported each day has declined slightly. And L.A. has so far avoided a sharp surge in hospitalizations that could risk overwhelming the healthcare system, as seen in other places such as New York.
Officials hope those trends continue to hold as more people venture out to visit recently reopened beaches, parks and hiking trails, as well as retailers that have resumed curbside pickup services.
“More people will be out of their homes now that we are in the early stages of our recovery journey, and this means there will be more chances of coming in contact with asymptomatic people who are infected with COVID-19,” Ferrer said.
She reminded anyone with an underlying health condition to continue to stay home as much as possible and to contact a healthcare provider immediately if feeling sick.
“It’s also a good idea to talk to employers and friends and let them know you are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19,” she said.