Public health officials are warning not to gather after celebrations behind the coronavirus test results have masked the recent rise in infections in Los Angeles County.
On Monday, the county’s senior health official, Barbara Ferrer, blamed the problem for a computer programming error that she said has already been fixed. But the backlog and related processing issues led to the number of cases for a roller coaster in Los Angeles County and across the country last week.
Fans who gather to watch recent championship sporting events, including for the Lakers and Dodgers, may have increased the spread, Ferrer said.
“I think it’s really wonderful that we both have amazing teams with so much talent,”
Ferrer said that gathering crowds to watch indoor matches and even outdoor restaurants – with people who are often covered in faces and screaming a lot – “is just not reasonable.”
Positive cases in the country’s most populous county rose this month from an average of 940 a day to nearly 1,200 a day last week.
Later Monday night, the public health department issued a warning that the risk of transmitting the virus would be high at public and private gatherings during the week leading up to Halloween.
Officials say contact tracking over the past three weeks shows that 55% of people who knew where they might have caught COVID-19 attended an event or gathering where two or more people were ill.
Those who hold gatherings during the holiday week must adhere to the following public health protocols:
- Conduct the gathering outdoors with physical distance between households
- Invite a maximum of three households, including yours
- Everyone should wear a face covering when not eating or drinking
- Serve food in disposable containers for single use
- Keep the event for two hours or less
“There are too many cases of people unknowingly spreading the virus during these types of gatherings, which unfortunately has led to new infections, serious illness and death,” Muntu Davis, the county’s public health official, said in a news release. “We can prevent cases, but he will take action from each of us personally and collectively.”
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