Los Angeles County health officials reported 953 new coronavirus cases Saturday and 10 related deaths, as the rate of the virus’ spread in the region continues to rise.
In a statement, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned that the number of new cases might be low because of “several missing reports” from Friday evening.
The number of people who have tested positive for the virus in L.A. County now stands at 287,295, and the sickness has claimed 6,856 lives here. Officials said Saturday that 746 people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county, and a quarter of those people are in intensive care units.
At least nine of the 10 deaths reported by L.A. County on Saturday involved people who had underlying health conditions. The 10th death was reported by the city of Long Beach, and county health officials did not immediately have information available about their prior medical history.
Officials have continued to express concern about large gatherings as the rate of new cases in L.A. County is expected to increase in coming weeks. Halloween also looms as a potential vector for increased spread if families choose to trick-or-treat, which would make social distancing all but impossible.
Beverly Hills officials banned trick-or-treating earlier this week, and L.A. County Mayor Eric Garcetti has pleaded residents to modify their candy and costumed revelry this year for their own health.
Ferrer urged county residents to continue following social distancing protocols in the hopes of avoiding a holiday surge in cases, similar to the one seen after Memorial Day.
“To slow community spread of COVID-19 in our county we must all partner together; businesses and residents must do their part and adopt the infection control measures that we know to be effective,” she said in a statement. “Each of us has the opportunity every single day to make the right choices for our health and the health of those around us.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.