The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 19 new deaths and 1,071 new cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Fourteen people who died were over the age of 65 years, four people who died were between the ages of 41 and 65 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Eleven people had underlying health conditions including 10 people over the age of 65 years old and one person between the ages of 41 to 65 years old.
To date, Public Health has identified 73,791 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 2,926 deaths. Ninety-three percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 2,720 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 41% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 29% among White residents, 17% among Asian residents, 11% among African American residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races. Upon further investigation, 298 cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. There are 1,285 people who are currently hospitalized, 31% of these people are in the ICU and 24% are on ventilators. Testing capacity continues to increase in LA County, with testing results available for over 825,000 individuals and 8% of people testing positive.
Case investigation and contact tracing is a containment strategy that has been used by public health departments for decades to slow the spread of infectious diseases and manage outbreaks. Currently, Public Health has over 1500 persons working as contact tracers for the COVID-19 response. Public Health interviews persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are residents of Los Angeles County, excluding Long Beach and Pasadena, to provide information about how to protect themselves and others, to find out where they may have been, and who they were in close contact with while infectious. This involves identifying and interviewing every person who has been in close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in order to quarantine those exposed (contacts) and monitor them for signs and symptoms of the disease. This process is confidential and depends on the timeliness of the testing laboratory to report positive COVID-19 test results to Public Health, whether the report contains the individual’s complete and correct contact information, as well as whether individuals respond timely to Public Health’s case interview and contact tracer calls and emails. Please remember that if you think you could be positive and are awaiting testing results, to stay at home and act as if you are positive for COVID-19. This means self-isolating for 10 days and 72 hours after symptoms and fever subside, or until you receive a negative result. Please also note a contact tracer will never ask for a social security number, payment or documented status.
“There are many families across our County who are experiencing the sorrow of losing a loved one to COVID-19. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you every day,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Contact tracing is a confidential and simple process that has been used by public health departments for decades to slow the spread of infectious diseases and avoid outbreaks. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, it is important to find out where that person has been and who they were in close contact with while they could transmit the disease to others, so that anyone who may have been exposed knows that they may also be positive. If you are contacted by a contact tracer, you caller ID will identify them as ‘LA Public Health,’ and it important that you answer or return their call.”
Public Health continues tracking the number of positive cases and deaths among healthcare workers related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Public Health has confirmed 44 people who died from COVID-19 worked in a healthcare setting; 32 people who died worked in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, six people worked in hospitals, two people worked in home health, one person worked in a correctional facility, one person worked in a laboratory, and one person worked in an outpatient facility. For one health care worker who passed away, their workplace setting is not specified. Twenty of the health care workers who died identified as Asian, 18 of the people who died were Latino/Latinx, two of the people who died were African American, two of the people who died were White, one person identified with another race, and for one person who died, their race and ethnicity was not specified. A total of 6,561 confirmed cases of COVID-19 occurred among healthcare workers and first responders; this is an additional 530 new cases reported since the previous week. Six percent of healthcare workers with COVID-19 have been hospitalized. Forty-four percent of cases are among nurses, though cases have been identified among a range of occupational roles, including caregivers, people who work in administration, physicians and medical assistants. Sixty percent of these cases reported a known source of exposure, and 79% of healthcare workers with known exposure reported being exposed in a healthcare facility. Healthcare workers who are positive worked at 27 different occupational settings, with the vast majority of cases among healthcare workers from skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.
Public Health issued a modified Health Officer Order designed to help move the county of Los Angeles into stage 3 of California’s Pandemic Resilience Roadmap. The modified Health Officer Order allows for the following sectors to reopen once they implement the required protocols for infection control and distancing:
Gyms and fitness facilities
Pro-league arenas without live audiences
Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums
Campgrounds, RV parks and outdoor recreation
Music, film and television production
Hotels for leisure travel
As with all businesses that are permitted to reopen, the Health Officer Order contains protocols for reopening to ensure it is done as safely as possible for employees, customers and residents. Employees and visitors to these businesses will need to wear a cloth face covering when around other people and practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet at all times. Some employees may also be required to wear face shields. The directives are contained in sector-specific protocols that guide re-opening and are available online. It is important for everyone to follow the directives and to do their part every day to keep everyone as safe as possible.
The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
The best protection against COVID-19 continues to be to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing, and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household. People who have underlying health conditions remain at much greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, so it will continue to be very important for the County’s vulnerable residents to stay at home as much as possible, to have groceries and medicine delivered, and to call their providers immediately if they have even mild symptoms.
Santa Monica has 363 confirmed cases.
Submitted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public health