More than 11,000 Los Angeles County residents have died of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from the LA County Department of Public Health. Almost half — more than 5,000 — of those deaths have occurred in the past two months.
“People who were otherwise leading healthy, productive lives are now passing away because of a chance encounter with the COVID-19 virus,” LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, adding that the county is seeing more than 200 deaths each day.
“Our health care workers are physically and mentally exhausted and sick,” she said.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called for help from other regions to help overwhelmed hospitals.
“We’re seeing heroes in our hospitals, we’re seeing angels in our ambulances stretched thin, to just deal with the onslaught right now of what’s happening here at the epicenter.”
Cases have soared 941% since November 1, and so far, the rate of new cases in January is double that of December, according to Ferrer.
In the past two months, the positivity rate in LA County has jumped from 3.8% to 21.8%.
Hospitalizations are 10 times as high as they were on November 1, and Health Services Director Christina Ghaly warned that yet another surge is expected within the next two weeks.
More than 8,000 people are currently hospitalized, with 20% in intensive care units and 19% on ventilators.
Los Angeles County hospitals are still operating in contingency care, but given the overwhelming demand, they could be forced into crisis care mode, Ghaly said. Should that occur, patients could be transferred to other areas, and all hospitals will be required to halt elective surgeries.
CNN’s Alexandra Meeks, Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan contributed to this report.
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