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LA County Updates List Of Official Coronavirus Symptoms; Confirmed Cases Top 23K

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Los Angeles County officials reported 733 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 23,182 cases countywide. Of those cases, 629 were reported in Long Beach and 393 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 55 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,111.

Health officials also updated the official symptom list for coronavirus. That list is now as follows (newly listed symptoms in bold):

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  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

County health officials advised anyone experiencing these symptoms to schedule an appointment to be tested.

TWO SETS OF TESTING CRITERIA

Yesterday, city of Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced that L.A. would “become the first major city in America to offer wide-scale testing to all of our residents, with or without symptoms.”

But the city of L.A.’s new testing criteria is wide open — as in anyone and everyone — in contrast to the county of L.A., which is “not currently providing testing for low-risk, asymptomatic individuals,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, who oversees the county's Department of Health Services. She explained:

“... given the reality that testing supply chain and capacity is still limited across the country, Los Angeles County must focus on access for testing for those with symptoms and for those who belong to certain vulnerable, or at-risk populations. The county's guidelines are consistent with the state's guidance, which was revised most recently today to expand to [certain] populations that are asymptomatic.”

Ghaly added that the city and county are using the same web portal to handle testing appointments. She said people “who are eligible only according to the city's guidelines would be routed into the city-operated test appointment sites … the electronic portal is able to distinguish between the two.”
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ADDRESSING HUNGER IN LA COUNTY

One big concern for county leaders: food security. L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said:

“There are residents going hungry right now, due to the economic hardship caused by COVID-19. That's why I encourage you to apply for CalFresh. [The program] provides nutrition assistance and funding for food, meals… please visit getcalfresh.org, or call 866-613-3777 to submit a CalFresh application. Our Department of Public Social Services has extended its service center hours just to help you.”

Solis also issued a reminder that the countywide ban on evictions “for non-payment of rent for residential and commercial tenants [and] people living on rented spaces at mobile home parks” remains in effect through May.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,020 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 13% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 19% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 38% Latino / 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

Here are some other key figures being reported today:

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  • Nearly 146,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and had the results reported to county health officials. Of those tests, 14% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,962 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 29% are in the ICU, with 19% on ventilators.
  • In total 4,813 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents 22% of all positive cases.
  • The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County, particularly nursing homes, continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 525 residents at those facilities have died. That number represents 47% of all deaths countywide.
  • Ferrer reported there are now 5,296 confirmed cases across the county’s institutional settings. Of those, 3,296 are among residents and 2,000 staff members have tested positive, she said.
  • Ferrer said 172 cases have been confirmed among L.A. County residents struggling with homelessness — 99 of whom were sheltered. Health officials are currently investigating 15 shelter sites with confirmed cases.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

More than 1,000 people in L.A. County have died from COVID-19, and nearly half of those deaths have been residents in nursing homes and other institutional facilities.