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LA County Saw A Spike In People Dying At Home In April 

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(Photo by Bryan Chan/ Courtesy Los Angeles County)
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In April, Los Angeles County saw 53% more people dying at home than during the same period last year.

That’s according to an LAist analysis of case data received from the county’s Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

In April of this year, 438 people died at home, compared to 286 people last April (289 people died at home in April 2018, and 293 in 2017).

L.A. County Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas told us many of these deaths are still under investigation, so it’s too early to tell why the numbers are up:

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“There’s an increase. The only question is: How much of that is because people are at home during the safer-at-home orders, and how much is just really related to disease or other things that are going on?”

Lucas said it’s possible that more people are dying at home simply because more people are staying at home. For instance, he said someone who dies of a drug overdose may be more likely to die at home during the pandemic than at another location.

“I think that the Safer-at-Home order may have just shifted the location [of deaths]. Some of these things may have occurred anyway,” he said.

But the increase in deaths could also be attributed to people dying at home from COVID-19, or dying from heart attacks and strokes because they avoided the hospital, said Karin Michels, professor of epidemiology and chair at UCLA.

“So these drastic increases in mortality are a mix of corona[virus] deaths and death from other [diseases] -- mostly heart attack and strokes -- that are not appropriately treated,” Michels said.

She said other locations in the U.S. -- and throughout the world -- are seeing similar increases.

“We want to know what's going on,” Lucas said. “Eventually, we will know more.”

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