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L.A. County reports most deaths since pandemic began

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Los Angeles County officials reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, and an overwhelming amount of cases, as intensive care units statewide slipped to just 1.7% remaining capacity.

An additional 131 new deaths, the most ever recorded since the start of the pandemic, and 21, 411 new COVID-19 cases were announced at an afternoon press briefing on Wednesday.

There were 4,656 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 21% of whom were in the intensive care unit.

“We’re experiencing an explosive and very deadly surge,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “These are extraordinary, extraordinary numbers and they represent transmission that continues to be out of control.”

ICU beds across Southern California have been plummeting to critical levels this week, with capacity falling to 1% in Ventura County and 0% in Riverside County, the California Department of Public Health reported.

In L.A. County, fewer than 100 ICU beds were available as of Tuesday.

“For the past two weeks, every day, we have seen a record number of people hospitalized,” Ferrer said. “We expect to see the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 reach 5,000 just a couple days from now.”

Countywide, there have been 539,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 8,127 deaths, both numbers which are continually rising.

Ferrer said today is the day to start cancelling Christmas plans that include gathering with people outside of an individual’s household.

“We have learned a hard and painful lesson from our actions over Thanksgiving,” she said. “Please, let’s not repeat our same mistakes as we move into our next holiday season.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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