The first neighborhood-level glimpse of the COVID-19 death toll in Los Angeles County shows in grim detail that poorer areas are seeing an outsize number of fatalities. Some of the highest death rates are in low-income neighborhoods of Central Los Angeles, a Times analysis of county health department data released Tuesday shows. Many neighborhoods across South L.A. also had higher death rates, figures show. County health officials said this week that those who live in lower-income communities in L.A. County are more likely to die of the disease than those in wealthier communities. "This data is deeply disturbing, and it speaks to the need for immediate action in communities with disproportionately high rates of death," Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said earlier this week.
The number of coronavirus infections in California surpassed 100,000 Wednesday, marking a milestone that comes as the state is rapidly reopening its economy. California is the fourth state to surpass 100,000 confirmed cases. New York leads with more than 300,000 cases. California has recorded more than 3,800 deaths, far fewer than New York, which has 29,000; New Jersey, which has 11,000; or Massachusetts, which has recorded 6,400. The rising cases don't necessarily mean outbreaks are spreading.
An upscale restaurant in Orange County closed this week after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. Javier's restaurant in Newport Beach announced it was closing Tuesday after at least one employee tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Javier's wrote on Instagram that it was voluntarily closing the location for deep cleaning and testing. The restaurant, which specializes in Mexican cuisine, plans to reopen July 1. "At Javier's, the health of our guests and employees is our top priority," the Instagram post read. Orange County officials began working with Javier's on Wednesday, said Molly Nichelson, a spokeswoman for the county.
The surge of the coronavirus in California over the last month started with an explosion of new cases, then moved into hospitals that rapidly filled with patients and is now beginning to bring an increase in COVID-19 deaths. The question now is how big the wave will get before it crests. June turned out to be a grim month in the COVID-19 battle, with people beginning to socialize again in ways that allowed the virus to spread rapidly across communities. Hospitals are being hit hard as patients who were infected weeks ago are now getting sick enough to require medical care. Officials are hoping public behavior changed toward the end of June and early July, but they won't know how that plays out for several more weeks.
California recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll Wednesday, with 149 fatalities reported, according to a Los Angeles Times county-by-county tally. The previous high was recorded on May 19, according to The Times' California coronavirus tracker, when 132 deaths were tallied. For weeks, daily coronavirus deaths have remained steady even as the number of newly confirmed cases and hospitalizations have risen, a trend experts believe occurred as California's reopening accelerated in late May and people returned to pre-pandemic routines around Memorial Day, including returning to work and meeting at social gatherings. Los Angeles County on Wednesday recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll ina month. Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 60 new coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday, and Long Beach -- which has its own health office -- reported one new death.