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LA Health Officials Report Signs Of Progress Even As Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 2,000 In County,

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Los Angeles County is "moving in the right direction" in its response to COVID-19, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at today's media briefing. And a new serology study suggests "it is very likely" that the countywide prevalence rate of the virus did not rise between March and April.

L.A. County officials reported 1,204 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 42,037 cases countywide. In total, 1,400 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 784 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

Ferrer also reported 46 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 2,016 people.

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Of the 46 people who’ve died in the past 24 hours, 28 were over 65 and, of those victims, 20 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Twelve victims were between 41 and 65 and 10 of them had underlying health conditions.

So far, 92% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.

The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County — particularly at nursing homes — continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 1,048 residents at those facilities have died. Those victims account for 52% of all deaths countywide.

She also noted that people between the ages of 18 and 65 make up 76% of the total cases in L.A. County and 74% of new cases. Ferrer explained why that was a concern:

"This is the age group that makes up the majority of our workforce. So, as more people are going back to work, it's an important reminder that people at the workplace may be infected, even if they aren't feeling sick, and we need our employers and our employees to work together to make sure that employees and customers are in an environment that's as safe as possible."

Ferrer acknowledged that, as the recovery process leads to more people leaving their homes, it "may become more difficult to slow the spread, but it is far from impossible."

She reminded county residents of the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance on physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the progress being made to limit the spread of coronavirus is allowing county leaders to ease restrictions and move forward with economic recovery, but noted that the financial impact isn’t hitting all residents equally.

“Let's be frank: the economic crisis for communities of color predates COVID-19 — COVID-19 has magnified that reality. But... the virus is still out there waiting for us to let our guard down, so we can't go back to business as usual.”

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,863 of the victims:
  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 17% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 39% 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

Here are some other key figures being reported today:

  • Just over 403,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and had their results reported to L.A. county health officials. Of those tests, 9% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,617 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those individuals, 26% are in the ICU, with 20% on ventilators. Ferrer noted officials continue to see a slight decrease in the number of people hospitalized.
  • In total 6,026 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents about 14% of all positive cases.
  • Ferrer reported the current seven-day average number of deaths per day is 37, which marks a 12% decrease from the prior seven-day average.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 410 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 10,587 confirmed cases in those facilities — 6,901 residents and 3,686 staff members.
  • Ferrer said 323 cases have been confirmed among L.A. County residents experiencing homelessness — 166 of whom were sheltered, Ferrer said.
  • There have now been 679 confirmed cases “at some point” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 530 inmates and 149 staff members have tested positive.

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