File Photo. Kit Karzen

Los Angeles County’s COVID case counts are on the rise but public health director Barbara Ferrer said the surge isn’t as bad as the one seen earlier this summer. However, she’s still encouraging residents to quarantine if they found themselves out at large gatherings in recent weeks.

Daily case counts have been above 2,000 since Thursday of last week, meaning the county now has nearly 325,000 cases to date, according to health officials.

The number of newly confirmed cases, the infection rate, hospitalizations and intensive care cases have also all reached their highest level in months, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned this week as he detailed how the positivity rate — the number of people who test positive — climbed from 2.5% to 3.7% in about three weeks, hospitalizations are up 29% over 14 days and “that trendline continues up,” he said.

Halloween weekend was only nine days ago so those who enjoyed the festivities of late October should still be self-quarantining. As should the people who gathered during the weekend to celebrate Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race, according to Ferrer.

“Recovery just doesn’t continue when you have thousands of new cases each day,” she said. “And many of these cases stem from people taking risks that are frankly not appropriate. It isn’t that hard to play by the rules, especially since these rules are what keep some people alive and allow our economy to improve.”

The state is expected to update counties’ progress on the state’s four-tier, color-coded system for reopening Tuesday afternoon, and experts suggest there will be some movement this week as some counties are destined to head backwards into more restrictive tiers, which could be bad news for businesses in operation.

Los Angeles County remains in the most restrictive purple tier so it’s pretty safe to say Santa Monica residents will see little to no change in the operation of local retailers, but city leaders said it’s key to stay safe when out around town.

“With the rise in case counts, it’s incredibly imperative to wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, and resist the urge to gather,” City Spokesperson Constance Farrell said. “This is the only way to make progress and to safely enjoy the holiday season.”

“Take very seriously the fact that you may have been exposed to COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “Stay away from anyone who’s at increased risk of serious illness.”

Brennon@smdp.com