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More Than 223K Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In LA County; Daily Hospitalizations On Decline

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Los Angeles County's coronavirus task force delivered its daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read highlights below or watch the full video above.

Los Angeles County officials reported 1,185 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 223,131 cases countywide. In total, 9,637 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 2,230 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 19 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 5,273 people.

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Ferrer shared new data showing a steady decline in daily hospitalizations, which has fallen 37% since mid-July.

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(Courtesy L.A. County)

"Daily hospitalizations is one of our best indicators that our efforts over the few last few weeks are actually working as it's an accurate representation of how many people are currently seriously ill from the virus," she said.

Daily reported cases and positivity rates are also trending downward, though Ferrer noted that the lag in state testing data could lead to amending those figures. Still, she said that health officials “anticipate at this point, because they're spread over many days, that this steady decrease will hold.”

Ferrer also presented a list of the state’s benchmarks for L.A. County, which showed the county has met most of those thresholds. But the county is still “falling short,” Ferrer said, on the case rate per 100,000 people. We’re currently at 298 cases per 100,000 residents, while the state’s goal is to get down to fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 residents.

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The current testing positivity rate is at 6%, and Ferrer said officials are confident it will remain under the 8% threshold once the backlog of tests are sorted out.

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(Courtesy L.A. County)

'HIGHER-RISK ACTIVITIES'

Ferrer also took time to again implore county residents to abstain from "higher-risk activities" such as weddings, parties and other celebrations.

"Please, we ask that you remember what's at stake," she said. "If you're thinking about organizing or attending a gathering, what feels like a harmless social gathering could result in many people infecting others, and some people becoming sick."

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That includes indoor religious gatherings. A Sun Valley megachurch recently won a legal battle against L.A. County for the right to hold indoor services. Ferrer declined to comment on the lawsuit specifically, but had this to say:

"... holding indoor worship services can create dangerous conditions that make it easier to transmit the virus. We do continue to extend our hand to every single faith-based organization, and to do our utmost to help you and your congregants find acceptable ways of worshipping safely outdoors."

BY THE NUMBERS

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 4,960 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 50% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 10% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 24% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 15% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • Less than 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to another race or ethnicity

A few other key figures reported today:

  • So far, 92% of those who have died had underlying health conditions.
  • Ferrer said officials have issued nearly 178,000 orders to isolate and more than 51,000 orders to quarantine so far. The rate of interviews completed with contact tracers has increased more than 20% since the start of August.
  • There are currently 1,341 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 33% are in the ICU, with 19% on ventilators.
  • Ferrer said 1,348 cases have been confirmed among homeless people in L.A. County.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 891 institutional facilities where there’s at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Those sites include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, treatment centers, supportive living, and correctional facilities. Ferrer said there are 30,129 confirmed cases in those facilities — 15,606 among residents and 14,523 among staff members.
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