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Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Top 30K In LA County; Hospitalization Rate 'Relatively Stable'

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Los Angeles County officials reported 883 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 30,296 cases countywide. In total, 875 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 516 in Pasadena. (Those two cities operate their own health departments.)

L.A. County Public Health Director Ferrer also reported 51 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,468 people.

Of the 51 people who’ve died in the past day, 39 were older than 65 and, of those victims, 36 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Eight victims were between 41 and 65 and six of them had underlying health conditions. Two victims were between 18 and 40, and one had underlying health conditions.

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

The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County — particularly at nursing homes — continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 713 residents at those facilities have died. That number represents 49% of all deaths countywide.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,352 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% 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

County health officials released a report this week showing a significantly higher mortality rate among minority communities in L.A. County. (We covered that report here.) Ferrer explained how the new data is informing health officials' response:

“The data are not only concerning, but they require all of us to work together and take quick action. Both reports identified strategies for closing the gaps, which included increasing access to testing, improving coordination of care and expanding access to appropriate communications. We've been working hand-in-hand with the city of L.A. and the Department of Health Services to actually expand the capacity for the county to have testing sites in the communities that are hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Ferrer also noted that health officials are working to determine the links between COVID-19 and the “unusual [and] rare” Kawasaki syndrome, which has emerged across the U.S. The disease typically affects young children and causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels in the body. The disease is treatable, but is known as a leading cause of acquired heart disease in the U.S., according to the CDC. Ferrer explained:
“... for many of the cases where this syndrome has been seen in different parts of the country, there has been a link to the following: either a child has tested positive for having antibodies to COVID-19 — that means at some point in the past they had the infection — or a child is currently positive for COVID-19 … We are today beginning a survey at all of our pediatric intensive care units to make sure that they haven't identified a similar syndrome … we're going to work with the entire country at better understanding these risks for children.”

Here are some other key figures reported today:
  • More than 214,000 country residents have been tested for COVID-19 and had their results reported to health officials. Of those tests, 12% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,790 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a rate that’s remained “relatively stable for the last week-and-a-half,” Ferrer said. Of those individuals, 29% are in the ICU, with 16% on ventilators.
  • In total, 5,298 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents about 17% of all positive cases.
  • 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 7,373 confirmed cases in those facilities — 4,663 residents and 2,740 staff members.
  • County officials have been working to increase testing capacity at nursing homes. As of Friday morning, 95 nursing homes have been able to test all residents and staff members, Ferrer reported.
  • Ferrer said 223 cases have been confirmed among L.A. County residents struggling with homelessness — 135 of whom were sheltered, Ferrer said. Health officials are currently investigating 23 shelter sites with confirmed cases.
  • There have now been 344 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 244 inmates and 100 staff members have tested positive.
  • There are 150 confirmed cases in the state prison system110 inmates and 40 staff.
  • In California's federal prisons, 609 inmates and 13 staff members have tested positive.
  • At juvenile detention facilities, two youth and 12 staff members have tested positive.

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