LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County health officials have reported more 4,544 new COVID-19 cases and 24 more deaths Friday, as new safety orders — including a stay-at-home order — will go into effect as a result.

The new measures will go into effect on Monday and remain until December 20, according to Los Angeles County Public Health. Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when outside their household and around others.

What You Need To Know

  • L.A. County's new three-week order takes effect Monday

  • The announcement comes as the county confirms 24 new deaths and 4,544 new cases of COVID-19 Friday

  • The order advises residents to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear a face covering when they go outside

  • It bans people from gathering with people who aren’t in their households, whether publicly or privately

The additional safety modifications in the order include the following changes to the existing Health Officer Order:

  • Gatherings: all public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
  • Essential retail: 35% maximum occupancy
  • Nonessential retail (includes indoor malls): 20% maximum occupancy
  • Personal care services: 20% maximum occupancy
  • Libraries: 20% maximum occupancy
  • Fitness centers operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy
  • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy
  • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing: Beaches, trails and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited. Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane. Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools: All schools and day camps remain open adhering to reopening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed nonessential businesses/activities:
  • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools
  • Cardrooms
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking because of the high rates of transmission in the community, as customers are not wearing face coverings, which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.

There are 1,893 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU. On October 27, one month ago, there were 747 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Public Health reminded everyone to stay home as much as possible and avoid seeing people you don't live with, even if you don't feel sick. Residents are also reminded to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth whenever they are outside their home and around others, as COVID-19 can be unintentionally spread to others.

The five-day average of new cases is 4,751.

To date, Public Health identified 387,793 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,604 deaths.

"To those who recently lost loved ones from COVID-19, we send you wishes for healing and peace," said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. "With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our healthcare system.

"These targeted measures are in effect for the next three weeks and still allow for many essential and nonessential activities where residents are always masked and distanced. We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that L.A. County residents continue following Public Health safety measures that we know can slow the spread.

"Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge. Please remain home as much as possible and do not gather with others not in your household for the next three weeks."

On Wednesday, county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis explained that the situation was getting worse each day.

"We continue to be at a very difficult time in this pandemic, as is so much of the United States," Davis said.

Restaurants in the county already were recently barred from in-person dining. They can still offer pickup, delivery and takeout services.

Beaches, trails, and parks will remain open, with safety requirements.

The order, which runs through December 20, is more modest than a statewide closure order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in mid-March. That order closed schools and most businesses and severely restricted movement except for essential workers or to perform essential chores such as buying groceries or picking up medications.

The restrictions are said to have slowed the spread of COVID-9 and some restrictions were eased but the caseload picked up again in summer and in recent weeks has surged to record levels throughout most of the state — as well as throughout most states in the country.

Daily cases numbers in California have set records in recent days. Hospitalizations statewide have increased more than 80% in the last two weeks. Nearly 2,000 people in the county are now hospitalized and the new order is part of an effort to prevent the county's health system from being overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, public health officials are bracing for a wave of cases that could follow gatherings at Thanksgiving. Officials say it usually takes two to three weeks for such serious cases to show but about 12% of those infected could wind up hospitalized.

Despite its reputation for sprawl, Los Angeles has some of the densest neighborhoods in the U.S. Many of those areas have multi-generational households where workers who don’t have the luxury to telecommute are exposed to the virus at work or on public transportation and spread it to family members.

Case numbers in those communities have been higher and the virus has disproportionately affected more Latinos and Black people.

With infections out of control, the other options for public officials to take are even more onerous and unlikely to be enacted in the U.S., said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

China, for example, tested millions of people and enforced quarantines. Italy brought in the military to enforce a shutdown.

“It’s hard to imagine how much further you can go in a society like we have,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, right? You want people to obey it but you don’t want to make it so draconian that people are trying to figure out ways around it all the time.”