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Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Top 15K in LA County; Death Toll Exceeds 660

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Los Angeles County officials reported 1,400 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, but noted that 880 of those cases had been backlogged from previous days. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to at least 15,140 countywide.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 46 new deaths from COVID-19. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 663. Of those victims, 89% had underlying health conditions, Ferrer noted.

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More than a third of the people who’ve died (38% as of today) had been living in institutional facilities, which include nursing homes, treatment centers and jails. “The majority of [victims] resided in our skilled nursing facilities,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths. According to the latest available information for 582 cases:

  • 16% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 36% Latino or Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 28% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 3% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

County health officials "continue to see disproportionality in the mortality rates for both African Americans and Asians," Ferrer said, adding that her department is working with regional and state offices "to better understand how we can make sure that everybody has the access to testing, healthcare services, and resources for support that are needed to make sure that they can have the best possible outcomes during this pandemic."
Here are some other key figures being reported today in L.A. County:

  • More than 89,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and reported results to county health officials. Of those tests, 14% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,739 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 31% are in the ICU, with 18% on ventilators.
  • In total 3,639 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents 25% of all positive cases.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 269 institutional facilities where there's at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. The county reports that 1,692 residents at those facilities and 1,221 staff members have tested positive, for a total of 2,913 confirmed cases. Ferrer said 255 residents at those facilities have died.
  • There are now 87 confirmed cases in county jail facilities; 30 inmates and 57 staff members have tested positive.
  • 11 staff members at juvenile detention facilities have tested positive.
  • There are currently 111 confirmed cases in state and federal prisons96 inmates and 15 staff.

Ferrer did not provide the exact number of confirmed cases among individuals experiencing homelessness, but she did provide an update regarding the Union Rescue Mission, where health workers have been responding to an outbreak of COVID-19.
She said 200 tests were conducted at the Skid Row homeless shelter, resulting in 43 positive cases.

Of the positive cases, 37% were symptomatic and 63% were asymptomatic, meaning people tested positive but have no symptoms. All 43 people are being isolated, according to Ferrer. Union Rescue Mission officials have agreed to quarantine everyone at the site, and the shelter is not taking in any new residents right now.

Ferrer also noted that the weather is getting warmer and expressed county residents' shared desire to begin the road to recovery. Based on the current modeling, mid-May is the projection to begin rolling back the current restrictions, but there is no "magic day," she said. Ferrer explained that:

"... in order for us to be able to safely relax our safer-at-home order, we need to make sure that we do this in a way that doesn't result in a surge of hospitalizations and deaths — and that we're able to care for people who are sick and need health care services."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.