File Photo. Kit Karzen

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has reported more than 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County. To date, Public Health has identified 211,808 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 5,057 deaths.

Public Health has confirmed 63 new deaths and 1,440 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases reported today is missing lab reports from one of the larger labs which is contributing to the lower number of new cases.

The numbers do not include backlog numbers. The State indicated that a backlog of lab reports for L.A County from the State electronic laboratory system (ELR) should be reconciled this week. Data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, are not affected by this reporting issue.

There are 1,524 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 32% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. Daily hospitalizations were over 2,000 patients a month ago.

Of the 63 new deaths, 31 people that passed away (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena) were over the age of 80 years old, 16 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 13 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Fifty-five people had underlying health conditions including 27 people over the age of 80 years old, 15 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 12 people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Two deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach

Ninety-two percent of the people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 4,746 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 49% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 24% among White residents, 15% among Asian residents, 10% among African American/Black residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races. Upon further investigation, 56 cases and two deaths reported earlier were not LA County residents.

Testing results are available for more than 1,965,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.

“L.A. County has hit a tragic milestone today — more than 5,000 of our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers have died because of COVID-19. This is heartbreaking and reminds us of the human toll of this pandemic. Our hearts go out to the many families that have lost a love one to this pandemic,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “One of the deaths we are reporting today is of a young adult under the age of 29. This is a reminder that the risk for all of us is real and that no matter how young you are, this virus can be deadly. We must continue to adopt practices that slow the spread of this virus; this allows us to prevent these untimely deaths. Please practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, wash your hands and avoid gathering with people you don’t live with.”

Face coverings combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and physical distancing, slow the spread of the COVID-19. COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets.  When face coverings are worn snugly over the mouth and nose, it keeps respiratory droplets from reaching someone else. These droplets are produced when people cough, sneeze, sing, raises their voice, or even talk. The droplets can land in the eyes, mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Please note, masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be worn since the vent permits respiratory droplets to be exhaled. Face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The State ELR problems have resulted in under counting, affecting the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day and our contact tracing efforts. Given the ELR delays, the department urges any person with a positive lab result to call 1-833-540-0473 to connect with a public health specialist who can provide information about services and support. Residents who do not have COVID-19 should continue to call 211 for resources or more information.

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.

Submitted by the Department of Public Health