Photo by Clara Harter.

While Santa Monica restaurants prepare to shutter for three weeks as a result of the most recent health order, Los Angeles County reported a new record of daily COVID-19 cases Monday, meaning more restrictions could be on the way if the trend continues.

During a media briefing Monday, Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the region had more than 6,100 cases in the region at the start of the week. The total included 1,500 backlogged cases, but Ferrer said she and her peers at the department of public health are still concerned with the steepening curve.

“Given the huge surge in cases across the country this past week, we strongly recommend that you only celebrate the holiday with people from your household, and that you not gather at all with people from outside your household to eat this meal — even if you’re outdoors,” Ferrer said Monday, when she reiterated the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.

“From October 31 through November 13, average daily cases increased 108 percent, which is a much more rapid surge in cases than what we saw in the summer; and this does not include the latest case numbers from the past week,” Ferrer said. “Unfortunately, with such huge increases in the number of cases, we’re not confident that these numbers will decrease this week since our case numbers reflect the actions people were taking a couple of weeks ago… And as we’re just beginning to implement a series of new safety modifications, we’re likely not to see the impact of these actions in our case numbers for a couple of weeks.”

Ferrer said the county continues to see a much steeper increase in daily cases of COVID-19 than it saw back in June and July, which is what prompted the suspension of outdoor dining that begins Wednesday.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger disagreed with the closures in a news release Monday, which said the proposed measures will further devastate local businesses and employees who have been asked to shoulder an unfair burden this year.

“Increased case counts are not coming from businesses reopening, but from large gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks,” Barger said.

Ferrer said Monday she and DPH will be working with the Board of Supervisors this week to determine additional safety modifications.

“We know this has created a lot of hardship for so many,” and county leaders are hopeful that these actions help the region get back to slowing the spread so that restaurants, breweries and wineries are able to once again open for in-person dining.

“In the interim, we ask everyone in LA County to please continue to support the sector by putting in your takeout, drive-thru and delivery orders,” Ferrer said, adding in closing: “At the end of the day, more people are becoming infected at their jobs, in their homes and in their community. And this results in much more transmission across the county. As we’ve asked so many times over the past months, we hope you’ll be able to dig deep and find a way to make the changes required with the new safety modifications. We do have a very bright light at the end of this long tunnel with the promising news about effective vaccines, and we know we’ll be in a different place next year. This year though, we need to continue to ask everyone — individuals and businesses — to own their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 so that we can stop the surge in cases and, ultimately, get back to our recovery.”

Brennon@smdp.com