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LA County Residents Should Consider Skipping Grocery Shopping This Week; 'Critical Week' Starts As 15 New Deaths Reported

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This week could be critical to determining whether the local spread of COVID-19 finally begins to level off or instead starts "skyrocketing," according to Los Angeles County public health officials.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, who oversees the county's Department of Health Services, called it "a critical week in helping to understand what the curve and the trajectory of this pandemic will be."

With a large volume of confirmed cases in L.A. County now — more than 6,000 — and estimates that many more people are likely asymptomatic but infectious, this week (and maybe next) will be of special concern, L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer said.

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"Our numbers could start skyrocketing, and that's one thing we don't want to see happen," she said.

Ferrer, speaking at the county coronavirus task force's daily briefing, urged residents to stay indoors, saying "this would be the week to skip shopping altogether" if you already have enough supplies in your home.

"It really is time for those people who may not have taken this seriously before to understand the seriousness of what's going on in our communities — the seriousness of living through a pandemic."

The latest numbers include 15 new deaths and 420 new cases, marking a rise in the mortality rate to 2.3%. That's the ratio of fatalities to the number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus — it had been hovering just below 2%. While no one knows yet just how deadly COVID-19 really is — that will take more time, more data, more research — Ferrer said the large number of local cases and the apparent ease with which it can spread is a cause for concern.

Here are the latest numbers:

  • 147 deaths in L.A. County so far
  • 12 of the people whose deaths were newly reported were over 65 — five had no apparent underlying health conditions
  • 3 more people who died were between 41 and 65, only one of them with underlying conditions
  • 6,360 total confirmed cases, with 1,083 just in the last 48 hours
  • 12 cases among the county's homeless population, including one person who may have been in a shelter while potentially infectious
  • 1,366 people at some point have been hospitalized, or 21% of positive cases
  • About 900 people currently hospitalized, 6% of them in Intensive Care Units
  • 54% of those in the ICU have underlying health conditions, and 45% are 65 or older
  • 512 confirmed cases in institutional settings, including skilled nursing, assisted living, and correctional facilities

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