COVID-19 Update: Lakers Championship celebration might have caused spike in COVID-19 cases, says health officials

Emily Holshouser, Assistant News Editor

Los Angeles County has the highest number of cumulative cases in the United States, while multiple other counties in California see a rise in the number of cases per capita.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts an upward trend in the number of deaths nationwide. L.A. County currently holds the record for the most confirmed cases in the nation.

We have compiled data and guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide an update for L.A. County. Data is up to date as of Oct. 29. Here is your weekly COVID-19 update.

Total cases:

Total count of cases and deaths as of Oct. 29. (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health)

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in L.A. County on Jan. 26, the number of positive cases continues to rise. Over 2% of L.A. County’s population of 10 million has had COVID-19.

COVID-19 curve of cumulative cases in Los Angeles County as of Oct. 29. (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health)


There are 743 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in L.A. County. There are 222 COVID-19 positive patients in the Intensive Care Unit. The County currently has 738 available ICU beds.

Race and ethnicity:

L.A. County’s data shows cases and deaths disproportionately affect people of color.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported that Latinos make up 60.5% of cases with data on race and ethnicity compared to the population, while the white population accounts for 13.2% of cases compared to the population.

Latinos account for 51.6% of all COVID-19 deaths when compared to the population.

Local official updates:

More states join California to independently review vaccines

Nevada, Washington and Oregon have joined a plan created by Gov. Gavin Newsom to independently review any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine before its distribution. A panel of health experts will review the vaccines and assist in determining vaccine priority groups and the vaccine distribution schedule.

“California has led with science and data through the COVID pandemic and when a vaccine becomes available, we will leverage our scientific expertise to verify its safety to give everyone the confidence they need to make important decisions regarding the health of their families,” Newsom said.

Lakers celebration, cardrooms reopening may have been COVID super-spreader events

Health officials warned that a large spike in COVID-19 cases may have been due to the celebrations following the Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championship win and the reopening of card rooms and indoor malls.

“We are now beginning to see another more gradual increase in the number of new daily cases,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “This gradual increase does coincide with the reopening of several sectors as well as increased gatherings associated with watching sports competitions, including the Lakers and Dodgers victories.”

L.A. Public health officials warn about COVID during Halloween

Public health officials fear that Halloween may become a “super-spreader event” and are reminding residents that trick-or-treating is discouraged in Los Angeles and even banned in Beverly Hills.

Department of Water and Power to begin Utilities Care Grant program

L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez announced an emergency relief grant in partnership with the L.A. Department of Water and Power. The LADWP utilities care grant program will provide up to 100,000 low-income residents with a one-time $500 grant to help pay their utility bills.

The $50 million grant is funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act.

Eligible residents have to apply online at the LADWP customer portal from Nov. 2-15. Successful applicants will receive the grant check via mail in late December.

Information on eligibility requirements and how to apply can be found here.

L.A. City & County partnering with USC for new rapid antigen testing study

Health officials will be partnering with USC for a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing study, which is a quicker test that uses proteins that make up the SARS-COV-2 virus to indicate if someone is contagious before they show more symptoms.

The first phase of the study was done with Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters. The goal of the study is to see how effective rapid antigen tests are to be able to provide them to essential frontline workers.

What’s open:
Grocery stores
Essential retail
Some non-essential retail with modifications
Parks and beaches with modifications
Golf courses
Hotels with modifications
Shared residential pools
Nail salons – limited to 25% capacity
Hair salons – limited to 25% capacity
Barber shops – limited to 25% capacity
Gyms (outdoors with modifications)
Indoor shopping malls – limited to 25% capacity
Zoos (outdoors with modifications)

What’s closed:
Indoor dining at restaurants
Indoor houses of worship
Indoor gyms
Tattoo shops
Face masks are still required in public. Gatherings should be limited to only people in your household.


The L.A. County website has a list of testing locations available for both walk-up and drive-up testing. Testing is available by appointment only.

A comprehensive map of testing locations can be found here.