The Los Angeles County public health director warned residents on Tuesday that they should not use a negative COVID-19 test to justify attending gatherings during the Christmas holiday.
“By the time you get a negative test result, you may no longer be negative,” Barbara Ferrer said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And even if you have no symptoms, you can easily infect others.”
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Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, told the paper the strategy is “very dangerous,” and said that approach is “a large part of what has led us to the situation that we are in today.”
California is averaging almost 44,000 newly confirmed cases a day and has recorded 525,000 in the last two weeks. It’s estimated 12% those who test positive end up in the hospital.
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That means 63,000 hospitalizations from the last 14 days of cases. The current figure is 17,190.
Ghaly said it’s feared entire areas of the state may run out of room even in their makeshift “surge” capacity units “by the end of the month and early in January.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report