LOS ANGELES, CA — After weeks of declining coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County saw a notable uptick in new cases reported Thursday. The county reported 2,253 new COVID-19 cases Thursday — 500 more cases than on Wednesday.
Health officials have been warning that the decline in new cases would plateau as more businesses and schools reopen, but the county is on the verge of meeting the state’s threshold for further reopenings including in-person instruction at middle schools. A prolonged spike in new cases could thwart a quick return to normal. County health officials said they will be watching the numbers closely in the coming days with an eye toward signs of a worrisome spring surge.
“We may just be weeks away from reducing transmission in L.A. County enough so that additional re-openings are permitted,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Thursday. “However, with increased case numbers in other states, and more circulating variants of concern, spring travel can lead to another surge that frankly would be almost impossible to tolerate. Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. To avoid this, please postpone travel and continue doing your part to slow the spread so that our recovery journey isn’t sidelined.”
Thursday’s new case count was the highest single-day total in nearly two weeks. Still, by other metrics, the county is in a good place. Hospitalization numbers continued to fall, along with the current rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county dipped to 2.5%, just above the statewide rate of 2.1%
According to state figures, there were 1,341 people hospitalized in the county as of Thursday, with 429 people in intensive care.