Coronavirus deaths rise in L.A., Orange County
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Southern California counties continue to report high death tolls from the coronavirus.

Orange County reported 31 new deaths Saturday. Los Angeles County tallied 50, which officials contrasted with last week, when an average of 38 people were dying each day.

“The number of deaths we are seeing is a sad reminder of the devastation COVID-19 causes,” Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County health director, said in a statement.

Statewide, at least 214 coronavirus-related fatalities were reported Friday, according to a Los Angeles Times tally, the fifth time in July California has broken a single-day record in reported cases, and the third time this week. The record was last broken on Wednesday, when 176 deaths were recorded.

The average number of daily COVID-19 deaths in California for the seven days that ended Friday was 127. Last week, the number was 104.

Experts say deaths are a lagging indicator of the virus’ impact, meaning they reflect infections that were acquired weeks before. COVID-19 cases have been rising since late May, when California reopened the economy and many people got back to old routines.

Four of the deaths reported by Orange County were skilled nursing facility residents, and two were residents of assisted living facilities, authorities said. The county also reported 637 more cases of the virus, bringing its total to 36,833 cases and 649 deaths. There were fewer patients in county hospitals compared with four days ago — 546, versus 626 on Tuesday.

L.A. County reported 2,303 new cases of the virus, bringing its total to 190,836 cases of the virus and 4,669 related deaths.

As in Orange County, hospitalizations continued to decrease slightly. There were 1,856 confirmed coronavirus cases in county hospitals and nearly 31% in intensive care, compared with 2,022 patients four days ago.

Nearly 1.8 million people had been tested and received their results, with about 10% testing positive.

Officials issued another plea for both people and businesses to take steps to limit disease transmission. They include wearing a face covering and staying home as much as possible, as well as implementing infection control protocols and reporting any outbreaks to the public health department, authorities said.

“Only by doing our part and working together can we reduce transmission to a lower rate that allows more people to get back to work and allows our children to return to their classrooms,” Ferrer said. “Hopefully, as you make your decisions about how to spend this beautiful weekend, you will do so understanding your power to affect the health of the entire community.”

Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.

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