LOS ANGELES — California recorded 132 new coronavirus-related fatalities Tuesday — the most in a single day since the pandemic began — as counties across the state continue cementing plans to reopen their economies.
The highest number of deaths previously reported in a single day statewide was 117 in late April. Tuesday’s rise, which comes on a day when data from the previous weekend is typically released, pushed the state’s death toll past 3,400. The number of confirmed cases statewide has climbed to 83,864, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times.
While the death count continues to rise, other metrics show significant progress, enough that even some of the most cautious local health officials have agreed to begin slowly reopening businesses and public spaces.
The number of newly identified coronavirus cases across California declined from the previous week, and hospitalizations have dropped more than 15% from a peak six weeks ago, according to a Times analysis.
In Los Angeles County, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in California with more than 1,900 deaths and nearly 40,000 cases, officials have cautioned that reopening the economy will be more difficult than in other parts of the state.
County officials on Tuesday announced a goal of reopening more of the economy by July 4. The mission is to reopen retail businesses, restaurants and malls at a steady pace while trying to avoid additional outbreaks.
“We have to do a lot of things right so we can actually get to that date,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
The proposed timeline was unveiled during a meeting of the county’s Economic Resiliency Task Force, which has been charged with developing plans for helping restore the region’s battered economy.
There have been more than 1 million unemployment claims filed in Los Angeles County to date, and more than 75% of the projected job losses are in positions that pay $50,000 a year or less. Restaurants and retail businesses are among the hardest hit, according to data presented to the task force.
“The longer we stay closed in certain sectors, particularly small businesses and restaurants, the odds are that they will not be able to come back,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said. “I feel that we have to get to the point that we learn to live with the virus. We cannot stay locked down forever.”
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