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Sports championship gatherings driving virus spread

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Los Angeles County Public Health reports that new cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise—a trend that it attributes in part to people gathering at homes and restaurants to watch sports playoff games.

“This gradual increase coincides with the reopening of several sectors, as well as increased gatherings associated with watching sports competitions, including celebrating the Lakers and Dodgers victories. At many of these gatherings, people were together without distancing or wearing face coverings, often inside, and unfortunately, at times they were transmitting COVID-19 to other people,” public health officials stated in a news release on Wednesday.

L.A. County's adjusted case rate is 8.0 new cases per 100,000 people, an increase from the 7.6 rate reported last week The daily case rate numbers remain the chief reason that the county has been unable to extract itself from the most restrictive tier in the state’s Blueprint to a Safer Economy, which would allow larger sections of the economy to reopen.

“Many people, especially our younger residents, are interacting with each other while not adhering to recommended prevention measures, while our older residents continue to experience the results of increased spread with the worst health outcomes, including death,” public health officials said in a statement. “Activities that have been linked to a high number of COVID-19 cases include parties, wedding celebrations, in-person dining at bars and restaurants, and on- and off-campus socializing at universities.”

The spread of the virus in Claremont experienced a slight jump this week with 28 new cases, bringing the cumulative total to 486 across all areas in the city. Fortunately, there have been no new confirmed deaths, with just 14 Claremont residents succumbing to the disease since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Claremont has a new institutional outbreak at Claremont Place Assisted Living where two staff members and six residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. Mount San Antonio Gardens is also reporting one new case at its Claremont Villas unit.

The number of countywide COVID-19 daily hospitalizations has remained below 1,000 for most of September and October and there are currently 755 people hospitalized, 28 percent of whom are in the ICU.

The stability in hospitalization numbers, while daily cases increase, is likely due to a combination of factors. First, younger people are primarily driving the increase of new cases and are less likely to become seriously ill. The ability of health care providers to offer better therapeutic treatments often leads to shortened time in the hospital. And there is often a lag between the time we start to see increases in cases and subsequent increases in hospitalizations.

Since its first report in mid-March, the county has recorded 303,369 cumulative cases and 7,040 deaths. On Wednesday the county reported 20 deaths and 1,351 new cases of COVID-19.

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