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4,500 Coronavirus Cases In LA County; Plus, Resources For Economic Relief

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L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer (L) with sign-language interpreter (R). (L.A. County)
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Los Angeles County now has more than 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 11 more people have died from the disease.

Nearly a quarter of the new cases came over the last 48 hours as the daily case numbers continue to increase.

The new numbers came as part of a daily update from the county's coronavirus task force. Here's a breakdown:

  • 4,566 total cases so far
  • 521 new cases, and 1,055 new cases in the last 48 hours
  • 11 new deaths: seven people over age 65, three people from 41-65, and one person between 18-40
  • All except one of the people between 41 and 65 had underlying health conditions
  • 1.9% mortality rate
  • 89 total deaths in L.A. County so far
  • 1,018 people have been hospitalized at some point, making up 22% of all positive cases
  • 541 people are currently hospitalized, and more than half are 55 or older
  • 1,627 hospital beds are available in L.A. County
  • 286 Intensive Care Unit beds are available
  • 26,000 people have been tested so far, and about 13-14% have been positive, though that rate could go down as the only remaining commercial labs that aren't sharing negative results begin to do so

HOW EASILY DOES IT SPREAD?

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Though there is still little public health officials can say with certainty about this pandemic, there are some things they know "for sure." One of these is that the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not airborne, Ferrer said.

The droplets that carry it are too big and heavy to linger in the air, instead falling to the ground — to tabletops, doorknobs, and other surfaces.(Note: Scientists are also studying how coronavirus might travel through the air.)

Another question remains of concern: viral load — that's the amount of the virus found in your system. It's still unclear whether viral load can affect your chances of getting sick, but recent studies clearly suggest that it could affect the severity of your illness, Ferrer said.

Ferrer reiterated the guidance on wearing homemade facial coverings to help reduce the chance of transmission, and again asked the public to avoid buying medical or surgical grade masks.

She also pleaded with grocery stores and pharmacies to offer free delivery to those who are most at risk from COVID-19, since older people, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions should be staying at home.

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RELIEF PROGRAMS

The public health response to COVID-19 has brought its own economic woes, as unemployment claims skyrocket. Last week, more than 878,000 Californians filed for unemployment as businesses furloughed or laid off workers. About a quarter million of those unemployment claims came here in Los Angeles County, Supervisor Hilda Solis said.

If you've lost your job, you can get help at edd.ca.gov/unemployment, or call 1-800-300-5616 to file for unemployment insurance

Many people will receive a stimulus check to help mitigate any losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you provided your bank account information to the IRS, you should see a direct deposit by April 17, Solis said. If you've opted to receive a paper check, you could see a delay of up to five months, though Solis said she expects the federal government will work to do what it can to avoid delays.

For small business loans, you can visit LACountyHelpCenter.org or call 833-238-4450. L.A. County is expected to get about $500,000 from the state to provide grants to eligible businesses that can demonstrate significant economic hardship, Solis said.

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You can also find help and resources from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation at laedc.org or by calling 213-236-4839.

If you need to apply for public assistance, you can access the Department of Public Social Services online or through its call center.

If you already receive benefits, you do not need to file any reports or documentation for March, April, or May, according to DPSS director Antonia Jimenez. That includes QR-7 and SAR-7 forms. Benefits will continue and automatically be transferred to your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, Jimenez said.

WATCH THE FULL BRIEFING:

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