Los Angeles County reported 69 new coronavirus-related deaths and more than 2,600 more cases on Friday.
According to the Times coronavirus tracker, the number of cases nationwide was over 500,000. There were 9,100 deaths.
The number of deaths in Los Angeles County is, according to official figures, significantly higher than the daily average of almost 38 last week. On Wednesday, the county recorded a daily record of 91 deaths, which according to official figures were partially affected by a backlog in reporting.
The number reflects exposures that occurred weeks earlier, the LA County Department of Health said in a press release.
There are 2,002 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 29% of them are in intensive care. To date, the district has identified a total of more than 188,400 cases of the virus and 4,621 deaths.
"As we see an increase in the number of people dying from COVID-19 in the past few days, the reality of the devastation cannot be ignored," said Barbara Ferrer, director of the LA County Department of Health, in a statement. "Nor can we ignore the reality that everyone can take action to prevent these tragic consequences."
L.A. County is responsible for the majority of the state's infections.
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Dr. Muntu Davis, LA District Health Officer, the need for companies to comply with the district's health regulations. This includes reporting an outbreak of three or more cases and alerting all workers who may have been exposed to a person with a known case, he said.
Officials investigate the deaths of two Mission Foods Corp. employees in commerce that they believe were positive for the corona virus when they died. Mission Foods, a leading distributor of tortillas, chips and salsas sold in grocery stores, was one of three food processing companies the county closed on Sunday. By Thursday, 49 employees had tested positive.
The other two food processing companies that closed this week were S&S Foods of Azusa, which produces meat and other products for large food service companies, and Golden State Foods Corp. of Industry that makes sauces and spices for fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s.
The family of Jose Roberto Alvarez, who oversaw Mission Foods maintenance and died on July 20 after being infected with the corona virus, has criticized the company for giving its employees the number of employees who tested positive has not communicated. In a statement, Mission Foods said that it has focused intensely on worker safety, including temperature checks and other workplace security measures, informed government officials of COVID 19 cases, and granted vacationing to high-risk workers.
The Ministry of Health examines more than 1,000 outbreaks of the coronavirus and receives 2,000 to 3,000 complaints about companies every week. Davis encouraged people to provide information about companies that may violate health regulations. For complaints to L.A. County that can be submitted anonymously, call (888) 700-9995.
The Times staff, Colleen Shalby, Jaclyn Cosgrove and Rong-Gong Lin II, contributed to this report.