L.A. County health officials report 953 new coronavirus cases, 10 related deaths

ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 07, 2020 - A sign tells customers to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as shoppers return to indoor shopping at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on October 7, 2020. This is the first day customers were allowed to return to indoor shopping after Los Angeles County eased restrictions and have reopened the malls and the individual stores. Such stores have been closed for weeks, but reopened Wednesday at 25% capacity. Westfield Santa Anita has placed Covid-related signage with one-way traffic, 6 feet distancing when waiting to get into individual stores, hand sanitizing stations and mask are required before entering the mall. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Customers are reminded that they must wear masks at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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