LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, on Wednesday reported new record numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths.
According to the data released by the local government, 21,411 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed during the past 24 hours, surpassing the former daily cases record of 13,050 on Dec. 8.
Meanwhile, the county with over 10 million residents, reported 131 new COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, which is the highest daily number of fatalities reported by the county since the pandemic started.
Los Angeles County's Director of Health Services Christina Gahly said at an online briefing conference that a total of 4,656 people are hospitalized currently, with an increase of about 200 since Tuesday and warned that this figure would be even worse next week.
She said county hospitals are seeing 600 new COVID-19 patients every day and that number, "could be between 700 and 1,350 by the end of December."
Moreover, at that time, she predicted that the number of patients that need ICU care in the county could exceed the current 2,500 ICU beds by 1,000 or more.
She urged local residents to follow the guideline issued by the authority to contain the pandemic, including wearing face mask and avoiding gatherings.
"I want to be clear: our hospitals are under siege and there is no end in sight," said Gahly, "Unless we remain more vigilant and more diligent through the holidays and beyond, we will not be able to stop the surge."