Hopeful signs for LA County in fight to halt COVID-19 spread

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County is seeing fragile progress in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, with hospitalizations and the rate of transmission slowing even though thousands of new cases are being recorded, officials said.

The nation’s most populous county could see the number of hospital cases decline slightly over the next four weeks if the “encouraging” trend holds, Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said Wednesday.

With 10 million residents, the county has the largest single chunk of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California.

Both surged in early June after state and local stay-at-home orders were eased.

The increases continued into July, with health officials blaming lack of physical distancing and mask-wearing at social gatherings, some businesses and Fourth of July holiday outings.

Statewide, California reported 197 additional deaths on Tuesday — a grim new daily record — and nearly 8,800 newly confirmed cases.

The state now has had more than 466,500 cases and more than 8,500 deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Los Angeles County has had a significant role in those figures, with more than 183,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,500 deaths.

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