L.A. sheriff reports 235 arrests enforcing COVID-19 restrictions

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department made 235 arrests over the course of December in a targeted effort to enforce coronavirus restrictions as the region continues to see a dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases, officials said Wednesday.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his agency has targeted underground parties – also known as "super-spreader" events. As of Wednesday, sheriff's deputies have also recovered several illegal firearms and rescued an "at-risk" juvenile, he said. 

"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," Villanueva said in a news release. 

The county has enacted some of the toughest restrictions in the state as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise and bed capacity at intensive care units reaches alarming levels. As of Tuesday, the county reported 7,000 hospitalizations — up 1,000% from two months ago — and nearly 12,800 new coronavirus cases. 

The county has already surpassed 10,000 COVID-19 deaths, with 274 new deaths reported Wednesday. 

During the first weekend of December, the sheriff's department made 158 arrests at a massive underground party at a vacant home in the Los Angeles suburb of Palmdale. 


Villanueva said the goal of the enforcement actions is "to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and risk to our vulnerable populations."

He previously said he would direct deputies not to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order that has forced businesses to shutter all in-person dining. 

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