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1 In 8 LA County Residents Have Likely Had COVID-19 — But May Not Have Had Symptoms

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Approximately one in eight Los Angeles County residents have likely been infected with COVID-19, although many people may have been asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic. That's the word from Dr. Roger Lewis, director of the COVID-19 modeling team within the county's Department of Health Services.

We are "back to slowing the spread of coronavirus," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health noted, but we have to stay vigilant.

"We still have many, many highly susceptible persons in Los Angeles County, and if the rate of transmission increased, we could see this progress reverse," Lewis said at today's L.A. County coronavirus task force briefing (you can watch the video above). "If we let up, the virus will have new opportunities to persist and even to increase its spread."

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A modeling graph showing COVID-19 transmission rates presented during L.A. County's Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. (Los Angeles County)

LATEST COVID-19 STATS

  • 214,197 - total number of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County
  • 2,428 - new COVID-19 cases today in L.A. County (this includes close to 700 cases from a state backlog)
  • 58 - new COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County
    • 19: age 80 and above
    • 24: age 65 - 79
    • 11: age 50 - 64
    • 3: age 30 - 49
  • 5,109 - total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County
    • 50%: Latino/Latinx
    • 24%: white
    • 15%: Asian
    • 10%: Black
    • Less than 1%: Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    • 1%: identify with another race or ethnicity

Ferrer said that since May, deaths are trending down for all age categories, and she showed several graphs and charts to illustrate these declines.
RENT RELIEF

The speakers at the briefing also addressed the impact COVID-19 has had on people worried they won't be able to make their next rent payment.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis announced that the county has set aside $100 million for a COVID-19 rent relief program to assist renters with limited means.

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"This will be one of the largest rent relief programs of its kind in the nation," Solis said.

The program, which aims to assist between 8,000 and 9,000 households, launches on Monday, August 17 and closes on August 31. Information about how to apply is available at 211la.org. You can also call 211 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day during the application period. Representatives will be able to assist in different languages.

Solis also said L.A. County has an emergency rent relief program to help provide rent payments to property owners on behalf of income-eligible households. This program is open to property owners with rental units located in the unincorporated areas of the 1st District. Applications will be accepted through August 31 or until funds have been exhausted.

COLLEGES MUST DO MOST CLASSES ONLINE BUT CAN STILL PLAY SPORTS

At today's briefing, Ferrer affirmed that county officials will continue to limit the reopening of colleges and universities. They can continue their central operations but must conduct most academic instruction via distance learning.

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"Institutions may continue to offer some limited in-person training and instruction," Ferrer said, "but only for students who are or will become part of the essential workforce." And that only applies to required activities that can't be done through virtual learning, such as labs and practicums.

Colleges and universities must also limit their on-campus student residency only to students who have no other housing options.

However, colleges and universities can allow collegiate sports to proceed, if they are in compliance with the state's interim guidance as well as NCAA protocols.

"The very nature of the way that colleges and universities operate creates a significant risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff, and these risks extend beyond the campus into our broader community," Ferrer said.

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