One in five people in Los Angeles County who are tested are carrying the COVID-19 virus, public health authorities of the most populous U.S. county said on Wednesday.
According to the county’s Department of Public Health, the test positivity rate increased to 21.8 percent on Wednesday amid the steepest rise in COVID-19 cases. On Nov. 1, the test positivity rate was 3.8 percent.
The department reported 11,841 new COVID-19 infections and 258 more deaths in a daily release, bringing its cumulative cases up to 852,165 with 11,328 related deaths.
Hospitalizations in the county have also increased steadily over the past days, surpassing 8,000 as of Wednesday with 20 percent of them in intensive care. On Nov. 1, the three-day average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 791.
“The rate of new cases this month is translating into a disastrous increase in the number of people with severe COVID-19 symptoms being sent to our local hospitals and, tragically, we are now seeing more than 200 deaths a day,” said the department in the release, noting that people who were otherwise leading healthy, productive lives are now passing away because of a chance encounter with the COVID-19 virus.
The county’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned that “this is a health crisis of epic proportions.”
“In Los Angeles County, we have doubled the number of people passing away each day, and this reality has upended all aspects of our healthcare delivery system. Our tragedy continues until we get it together to change our actions,” she added.