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Fueled by Labor Day coronavirus jump? It is not clear yet



When Los Angeles County officials explain the huge outbreak of coronavirus that happened this summer, they often point to Remembrance Day and Fourth of July, two long weekends when gatherings with friends and family fuel the spread of the virus.

Now, two weeks after Labor Day, employees are worried that the same pattern is emerging.

In a few days last week, Los Angeles County reported more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus, an increase from the previous week. There is still not enough data to draw clear conclusions, but the “alarming trend”

; echoes what happened earlier this year, said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in Los Angeles County.

“We have data from four days last week that show a significant increase in the number of cases,” she told a news briefing on Monday. “We will have to pay attention to the data this week.”

The picture could become clearer as early as Wednesday, when a new daily number of cases will be issued and Ferrer will hold another press conference.

As it can take up to two weeks to show symptoms after infection, these cases could be those that were concluded during Labor Day, she said.

But other than the weather, there is no indication that long weekend gatherings are the cause. Even the waves following Remembrance Day and the Fourth of July were linked to other factors, including protests and the rapid opening of businesses, which eventually had to be lifted.

In early to mid-September, the number of coronavirus cases per day was lower than usual, in part because the test sites were closed due to a combination of extreme heat, fires and dangerous air quality, Ferrer said. So it is possible that people who delayed testing when capacity was limited can test now, temporarily inflating the number of cases.

Ferrer said she was “cautiously optimistic” that the number of cases would start declining again, but could not be sure that the increase was just a change by the end of the week.

Other indicators of coronavirus transmission in Los Angeles County remain equal or decrease. The county’s positive rate – the percentage of tests that return positive – has been steadily declining over the past six weeks and is at a record low, according to the county. The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 is also lower than it has been since at least April, according to the Times.

On July 18, a few weeks after the July 4 holiday, there were 2,232 people in the hospital with COVID-19. There were 745 on Sunday.

Nevertheless, the recent increase in coronavirus transmission is returning LA County to its resumption.

To move to the next level of recovery, the county only needs to see seven new cases of coronavirus each day per 100,000 residents, maintained consecutively for two weeks. Once this goal is reached, restaurants, gyms, churches and others will be allowed to open indoors with limited capacity.

The county met that standard during the week of Sept. 6-12, but the latest jump in cases is likely to take it out of sight again.




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