Health officials confirmed five new deaths and 798 new cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County on Sunday, continuing a steady decline in the area from the pandemic that began a month ago.

However, they also found that the low number of deaths and cases reflected a delay in reporting over the three-day weekend.

They also warned that after Labor Day, new spikes in deaths and hospital stays could emerge, when friends and families gather for crowded barbecues and parties, as on Memorial Day and July 4th.

"If you have 10 guests in your house to celebrate the holidays, you increase the risk of one of your guests introducing the COVID-19 virus into your household," warned the health department.

Officials also stressed that a single asymptomatic family member could trigger the spread of the disease across the community.

The new numbers bring the cumulative total of positive cases of the coronavirus nationwide to 248,334 with 6,005 deaths.

The new deaths followed well-known demographic patterns: four of the deceased were over 65 years old, including one over 80 years old. All four had underlying health conditions that made them particularly susceptible to severe viral infections.

The ultimate death ranged from 50 to 64 years. Only eight percent of the county's residents who died from COVID-19 were free from previous health problems.

The racial and ethnic breakdowns of the deceased also fell into familiar, if disturbing, categories: 51% Latino, 24% White, 15% Asian-American, and 10% Black.

The coronavirus has also caused 1,000 deaths in Orange County. With many Southern Californians fleeing a record heat wave on the area's beaches, authorities urged people to stay away from the crowds, use their own dinnerware, and store masks unless they are immersed in the surf.

"Any crowded space – even if it's outdoors – can pose health and safety risks," said a statement from Los Angeles County's health authorities.

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