As Los Angeles County reopens, the number of positive coronavirus cases has started to increase, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Health officials attribute the recent spike in virus transmission to the economy reopening and not the crowds of people gathering to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer on May 25. That’s because the incubation period for the virus can last as long as two weeks, the newspaper reports.
On Friday, director of health services for L.A. County Dr. Christina Ghaly said the transmission rate is rising and there have been more hospitalizations due to positive virus cases.
“While we don’t know precisely yet how reopening and the recovery activities will affect transmission of COVID-19,” Ghaly said, the transmission rate “does appear now to be greater than one, and slightly uptrending.”
The transmission rate of greater than one means that, on average, each infected person is transmitting the virus to one other person.
“If transmission has indeed increased,” she added, “then the model predicts that we will have a continued increase in hospital patient volume over the next two to four weeks, and we would anticipate beginning to see that change happen over the coming one to two weeks.”
Ghaly said it was possible the county could face a shortage in intensive care unit beds over the next two to four weeks if the transmission rate keeps going up.
Coronavirus hospitalizations in the county were their lowest on May 31, at 1,908. By Thursday, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had increased to 2,048. On Saturday, it was at 1,981, the newspaper reports.
“We must all do everything we can to keep the [transmission rate] from continuing to increase,” Ghaly said.
Other areas report an increase in cases, too. San Mateo County, in the Bay Area, has reported an uptick in cases. San Mateo County has not reopened as quickly as L.A. County. L.A. County has resumed inside dining, which is still prohibited in other Bay Area counties like San Mateo, according to the newspaper.
“It’d be one thing to see a slight increase, which we would anticipate from having more people out and about. What we have to avoid is that huge increase that causes a threat to our healthcare system,” Los Angeles County’s director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, told the newspaper last week.
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