Residents should stay home as much as possible as the city faces stark choices between “health and sickness, care and apathy, life and death,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti during a Wednesday news conference.
“It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything. If it isn’t essential, don’t do it,” Garcetti said. “Don’t meet up with others outside your household, don’t host that gathering, don’t attend a gathering.”
The number of daily coronavirus infections in Los Angeles has tripled since early November. Hospitalizations have more than tripled and are at a new peak, Garcetti said.
“The public health condition of our city is as dire as it was in March in the earliest days of this pandemic,” he said.
Los Angeles is in line with the rest of the country as Covid-19 hospitalizations have soared. The 100,226 Covid-19 patients in US hospitals
on Wednesday is the highest reported during the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project
. Health care officials across the country say their staff and facilities are struggling to support burgeoning numbers of patients.
Los Angeles County on Tuesday reported its highest number of hospitalizations and new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. Average daily cases have increased by 225% since early November, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
“Every resident and every business needs to take immediate action if we are to dampen this alarming surge. We are in the middle of an accelerating surge in a pandemic of huge magnitude,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in a statement
. “This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives.”
The county, the most populated in the nation with 10.5 million residents, is now under an order
that bans all public and private gatherings with anyone outside a single household. The ban was issued last week by the county public health office and ends December 20.
All county residents are asked to stay home as much as possible and wear face masks when outside, even when exercising. The order reduces the maximum occupancy for essential businesses to 35%, and for nonessential businesses, personal care services and libraries to 20%.
Businesses operating outdoors, including fitness centers, zoos, botanical gardens and batting cages, are reduced to a maximum of 50% capacity.
The directive follows a ban on in-person dining
in Los Angeles County and a statewide curfew
prohibiting nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for most of the state’s 39 million residents.