90 arrested amid crackdown on New Year’s Eve ‘super-spreader’ events in L.A. County

Dozens of people were arrested and hundreds of others received warnings as a sheriff’s task force cracked down on coronavirus “super-spreader” events in L.A. County on New Year’s Eve, officials announced Friday.

Hundreds of personnel with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Super-Spreader Task Force fanned out across the region on Thursday night, shutting down five total events: two in L.A., and one each in the cities of Hawthorne, Malibu and Pomona.

Superspreader events, during which a large number of people can possibly contract a contagious disease, took place at rental homes, vacant warehouses, closed businesses and hotels, a sheriff’s news release stated.

Ninety adults were arrested and cited out for violating the county’s safer-at-home order, according to the Sheriff’s Department. More than 900 others received warnings and were advised about the order, as well as COVID-19 health and safety measures.

Additionally, one person was arrested on suspicion of possessing narcotics and a loaded firearm, officials said. Five handguns were also recovered at the event in Hawthorne.

“I have made it clear that we will seek out and take law enforcement action against all ‘Super-Spreader’ events occurring anywhere within Los Angeles County,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in the release. “The goal of these enforcement actions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the risk to our vulnerable populations.”

L.A. County’s COVID-19 situation remains dire, as hospitals are being pushed “to the brink of catastrophe” amid an acceleration of cases and patients, health officials say. More than 7,600 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.

Coronavirus deaths are also on the rise, with one person dying approximately every 10 minutes, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

On Friday, the county reported another 207 deaths and 20,414 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The sheriff’s “super-spreader” enforcement will continue through New Year’s Day, according to agency.

Anyone with information about such events is urged to contact their local sheriff’s station.

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