Los Angeles County is once again breaking records for COVID-19 deaths and deaths as hospitals push it to the limit

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – Los Angeles County has once again shattered its daily record of new coronavirus cases and deaths as officials warn that vaccine shipments are not coming fast enough to prevent hospitals from being stretched to their limits at this point.

The province reported 138 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

The county also reported 22,422 new COVID-19 cases, but acknowledged that the number included a backlog of about 7,000 new cases from a lab that had not reported results for a few days. Even without the backlog, 15,000 cases would be among the county’s highest ever in a day.

“These are nonetheless extraordinary numbers and they represent a transfer that is still getting out of hand,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for the province.

There are 4,656 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the district, about 21% of them in the ICU and about 15% of them on ventilator.

The province has now registered more than 539,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

The province has also reported a total of 8,568 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Those numbers include the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own health departments. Long Beach reported 7 new deaths on Wednesday, and Pasadena had none, while the rest of the county reported 131.

According to Dr. Christina Ghaly, the director of the county health department, about 1 in 80 people in Los Angeles County are now infected with the virus.

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While the advent of vaccine doses in the province represents a “ray of hope,” it’s not coming soon enough and we’re still waiting for a “tough few weeks,” she said.

Hospitals in Los Angeles County will receive 83,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

“The vaccine will not prevent the wave,” said Ghaly. “There are simply not enough doses in a timeframe short enough to make a difference in the overall infection rate in the general population.”

Hospitals across Southern California, especially the ICUs, are dangerously close to full as the rise continues to grow. Los Angeles County ICUs currently have less than 1% of their capacity available.

Ghaly noted that people with COVID-19 infections are at risk of taking resources away from other patients, such as those involved in heart attacks or car accidents and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

That’s why she and other officials have continued to reinforce the message about masks, social distancing, and just staying at home.

“If you don’t do everything possible to minimize the spread, you contribute to the spread,” said Ghaly.

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