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LA County Updates Isolation Time For People With Coronavirus; Confirmed Cases Top 24K

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Los Angeles County officials reported 1,065 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 24,215 cases countywide. In total, 667 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 406 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 62 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,172.

At the start of April, Ferrer had reported 79 deaths in L.A. County. She noted the “devastating losses across our communities during the month of April.”

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Ferrer also noted that the Centers for Disease Control has updated its self-isolation guidance for people who've contracted COVID-19. The CDC now says people need to isolate themselves for 10 days plus 72 hours. (The previous guidance was seven days plus 72 hours.) She explained:

“The reason for the change is because there's new evidence that suggests that the virus may shed for a longer period of time, which means that a person may be able to infect other people for a longer period of time than was initially thought, when we had the guidance that people needed to self-isolate for seven days, plus 72 hours after fever and symptoms subsided.”

Of the 62 people who’ve died in the past 24 hours, 46 were over the age of 65, and 39 of those victims had underlying health conditions. Seven victims were between 41 and 65 and all had underlying health conditions. One victim was between 18 and 40.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,069 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]
  • 29% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

Ferrer said 92% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, a statistic that has not changed for two weeks.
The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County — particularly at nursing homes — continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 564 residents at those facilities have died. That number represents 48% of all deaths countywide.

Earlier this week, Ferrer pointed out that the rates of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 are “extremely high” among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the county. (LAist reporter Josie Huang took a closer look at why.)

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In yesterday's media briefing, health officials provided an updated list of the official symptoms of coronavirus. That list is now as follows (new symptoms in bold):

  • 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.
Ferrer also had a reminder for county residents: safer-at-home orders are still in effect and as we transition into reopening and recovery in the coming weeks, health officer orders will continue to be part of “our new normal.” She put it this way:

“The conditions we faced in February and March and April haven't changed significantly. We still have a new virus that is easily spread among people who are in close contact with each other. Ninety-five percent of us have still not been infected, and until there's a vaccine, most residents in L.A. County can be infected at any time, over the months to come. Recovery will help us get people back to work, but without taking extraordinary measures to reduce our exposures to people who are infected and to keep our distance as much as possible, we could easily see a big spike in new cases, and we need to all do our part to make sure we avoid the situation.”

Here are some other key figures for L.A. County being reported today:
  • More than 152,200 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 1,959 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 27% are in the ICU, with 17% on ventilators.
  • In total 4,880 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents about 21% of all positive cases.
  • Ferrer gave an update on cases among pregnant women. So far, 106 pregnant women have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 27 completed their pregnancies, and there were 26 live births. Twenty-two infants were tested for COVID-19 at birth and all were negative. “We don't have signs that pregnant women are transmitting the infection to their newborns at this point in time in L.A. County,” Ferrer said.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 316 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 5,658 confirmed cases in those facilities — 3,530 residents and 2,128 staff members.
  • There have now been 228 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 144 inmates and 84 staff members have tested positive.
  • Twelve staff members at juvenile detention facilities have tested positive.
  • There are 650 confirmed cases in state and federal prisons613 inmates and 37 staff.

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