By Zand Hill and Christian Leonard
Glendale reached a dubious milestone this week as health officials sounded the alarm again on the apparently uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus that has left the nation reeling.
The number of city residents who have tested positive for the disease since March rose to 5,068, one of the highest totals among suburban Los Angeles municipalities. As of Friday, at least 186 Glendale residents have succumbed to the disease. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials reported this week that since Oct. 3, the test positivity rate for COVID-19 has risen from 3.6% to 5.9% countywide.
This week there were around 103 intensive care unit beds available countywide, as hospitalizations for the disease again are rising. This week there were 953 hospitalized patients — 28% of whom were in ICUs — after the county reached a low of 682 hospitalized patients on Oct. 3.
Most of the nation is now rated as having “uncontrolled spread” of the disease.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with the governors of Oregon and Washington, issued an advisory Friday urging residents to avoid out-of-state travel and to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.
In L.A. County, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 surpassed 900 this week, compared to 650 to 725 in early October. Health officials also said on Thursday that the county is seeing more than 2,000 new cases a day, up from an average of 1,464 on Nov. 3 and 988 on Oct. 3. There were 330,450 cases reported countywide and 7,221 deaths as of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the United States counted more than 1 million new COVID-19 cases in 10 days and recorded its 10 millionth case on Sunday, Nov. 8. The nation’s total was more than 10.5 million cases and 240,000 deaths as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, California surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases this week. But Shira Shafir, an epidemiology professor at UCLA, said in an email that it could be worse if more sectors were reopened.
“In California, while we are clearly seeing an increase in cases, we have seen less of a surge than other places throughout the country, largely because of our conservative approach to reopening; we have not yet opened schools or the economy in the way that other states have done so,” she said. “Preventing opportunities for the virus to be transmitted is the most important thing that can be done.”
Shafir also expressed concern that Thanksgiving gatherers could exacerbate the spread of the virus, advising — as officials continue to — that community members adhere to the practices they’ve come to know over the course of the pandemic.
“Social distancing and mask wearing are the two most important things that individuals can do to slow the spread of COVID-19,” she explained. “This means not having gatherings with people outside of your household, even for the upcoming holidays.”