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7 More Dead Of COVID-19 In LA County; 6 Deaths So Far In Nursing Homes

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Seven more people have died in Los Angeles County because of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths countywide to 44, while the number of positive cases has increased by 342.

Six of those who died were older than 65 and one was between 41-65 years old. In addition, six of the people who died had pre-existing health conditions, including the younger one.

In total so far, six of the people who have died in L.A. County were residents of nursing homes, according to county public health director Barbara Ferrer. That's a sobering reminder that while most of the infections continue to be among people aged 18 to 65, it is the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are getting hit hardest, and the more people who are infected, the greater the danger to those who are most vulnerable.

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Earlier reports stated outbreaks at three nursing facilities and nursing homes. Ferrer said the health department defines an "outbreak" in this context as a facility with three or more positive cases.

In total now there are outbreaks at 11 "institutional settings" — a term Ferrer is using to include nursing homes and other facilities like jails and prisons. Staff, faculty, and residents of all 11 facilities have been notified, Ferrer said.

In all, positive cases have been reported at 25 institutional settings. That apparently includes one inmate at a jail, though Ferrer wouldn't say which one. The total number of cases across all of these settings is 130.

Here are some more takeaways from today's update:

  • 2,474 total cases in L.A. County
  • 86% of the people who have died also had underlying health conditions
  • The mortality rate for COVID-19 remains at 1.8%, though this is a number that will continue to fluctuate as more positive cases are identified
  • 492 people have been hospitalized so far, or about 20% of all positive cases
  • Of those hospitalized, 184 were 50 or older, and 46% were over 65
  • 26% of hospitalized patients are currently in the ICU
  • 1 inmate has tested positive and been removed from the jail to isolation at a medical facility
  • 4 staff members at correctional facilities have also tested positive; all are isolated now, and their close contacts are quarantined
  • 2 positive cases among the homeless, and these individuals are also in isolation with their close contacts being identified and quarantined
  • 1 staff person working to provide homeless services has also tested positive
  • "Dozens and dozens of cases" among health care workers, Ferrer said, and investigations are ongoing where they work to identify possible exposures
  • As of yesterday, more than 15,500 people have been tested, and 12% of them have been positive
"It's a good opportunity to remind all of us to be so grateful for the dedication of all of our healthcare workers. They really do put their lives on the risk, on the line every single day. They're taking a lot of risks, caring for people who are often very sick and need elaborate and close contact in the care that's being provided, so we owe them a debt of gratitude for being on the job and doing such a good job."

Ferrer affirmed that current models suggest cases could peak in late April, but she said her team is analyzing the numbers every single day to make adjustments. Any forecasts are just that — forecasts.