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60% Jump In Coronavirus Cases At LA County Nursing Homes, Other Institutional Facilities

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Let's begin with a quick PSA: We didn't think we'd have to say this, but here it is: do not inject or ingest bleach or other disinfectants. That is not a treatment and could kill you.

Los Angeles County officials reported 1,035 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 18,517 cases countywide.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 52 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 848.

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases at institutional facilities rose dramatically, from 3,343 reported yesterday to 5,339 reported today. Most of those cases were residents at nursing homes, which remain a "tremendous concern" for health officials, Ferrer said.

Speaking to the sharp rise in confirmed cases, she explained:

“The large increase in the number of residents, is because we have done a lot of testing in our facilities, and because of the increased testing, we've been able to identify many asymptomatic residents and staff who are positive for COVID-19.”

In total, 365 residents at institutional facilities — most of them from nursing homes — have died, Ferrer said. Those deaths now account for 43% of all COVID-19 deaths countywide.

Institutional settings also include jails, rehab centers and convalescent hospitals.

Because of the sharp increase in cases at nursing homes, county officials have issued a new order requiring all staff and residents to be tested for the virus, even if they don't have symptoms.

The county will give testing priority to facilities with the "most severe outbreaks," Ferrer said, but adding that officials will make sure testing is available for all nursing homes in L.A. County and will work with each facility to figure out how often it tests staff and residents.

The order also bars visitors and workers deemed non-essential from entering all "congregate healthcare facilities," Ferrer said. Communal dining and other group activities at nursing homes are being suspended to ensure proper social distancing, she said.

Ferrer also noted that, yes, it's sunny and warm this weekend and people are eager to get outside and enjoy any source of joy they can right now. She advised L.A. County residents:

"... it's fine to go outside right near your house or at your house. It's not fine to go and drive to another county because you think that counties has relaxed some of their restrictions and you're going to be able to do things there that you can't do here... We don't need you to go out get infected in another county and then bring your infected self back here to L.A. County — and those other counties... really couldn't afford to be overwhelmed by travelers coming in as well so so we're going to ask you to please not do that."

Here are some other key figures being reported today:
  • More than 108,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and had the results reported to county health officials. Of those tests, 15% have been positive.
  • There have now been 115 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. Ferrer said 47 inmates and 69 staff members have tested positive.

County officials reported demographic information for 771 people who haved died (97% of cases):

  • 15% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 37% Latino or Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 28% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity
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