LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County reported 1,590 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Sunday, bringing the county's totals to 309,190 cases and 7,074 fatalities.
The number of people hospitalized in the county because of the coronavirus increased from 783 Saturday to 799, with 28% of those people in intensive care, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Health officials have said the county had been averaging about 940 new cases a day at the beginning of October but is now averaging about 1,200 per day.
Los Angeles County remains entrenched in the most restrictive "purple" tier of the state's coronavirus economic-reopening matrix.
Until the daily case numbers drop to a steady average of about 700 per day, the county will be unable to substantially lift business restrictions or allow school campuses to reopen.
The county had reached that benchmark in September, raising hope it might advance to the less-restrictive "red" tier, but it was unable to maintain those case levels.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stressed the importance of staying the course and obeying public health orders heading into Saturday's Halloween holiday.
"The stakes are high since our case numbers have already been steadily increasing for the past two weeks," Ferrer said. "We can't really afford to repeat what we went through after the July 4th holiday when we saw surges in cases followed by alarming increases in hospitalizations and deaths."
Health officials have said younger residents represent the bulk of new cases being reported, and they pointed directly to public gatherings --particularly groups of people coming together to watch sporting events either in private settings or at outdoor restaurants -- as responsible for the case increases.
Beyond just the recent Lakers and Dodgers championship playoff runs, health officials pointed to the start of the football season as another factor attracting larger crowds at eateries with television sets.
All bars remain closed in the county, and no spectators are permitted at sporting events, such as Rams and Chargers games at SoFi Stadium.
Another concern is the possibility of spread at large demonstrations, such as those for racial justice and involving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where people often come into close contact with each other amid shouting and chanting.
More than 3,140,000 people have been tested in the county since the pandemic began in March, with 9% of all people testing positive.