New stay-at-home order for L.A. County coming within weeks if COVID-19 continues to surge

In an ominous sign of how rapidly COVID-19 is spreading across Los Angeles County, officials on Tuesday warned that a new stay-at-home order would be imposed if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to spike over the next few weeks.

County leaders said they are desperately trying to avoid another shutdown, announcing that, starting Friday, they will begin ordering restaurants and nonessential stores to close at 10 p.m. and place a cap on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings — a maximum of 15 people from no more than three households — in hopes of slowing the infection rate.

Los Angeles County has been particularly hard hit by the latest wave of the coronavirus. The average number of daily cases has tripled in the last month, from more than 900 cases a day to more than 2,800 for the five-day period that ended Tuesday, according to a Times analysis.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has also surged in L.A. County by nearly 60% in the past month, from 752 infected people in hospitals on Oct. 16 to 1,188 on Monday. And the rate at which coronavirus tests results are coming back positive is substantially up, now at 5.3% over the past week, up from 3.8% the previous week.

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