Photo by Kit Karzen

Los Angeles County reported 19 additional deaths from COVID-19 Monday, but county health department officials said they still believe the data is trending in the right direction.

Monday’s announcement means the total number of deaths across the county is now 5,273. There were also 1,185 new cases reported, which include a small number from the state’s backlog and brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County to 223,131.

But Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, “We do continue to be cautiously optimistic that all of the sacrifices that we’ve seen across our country are working, and that we’re in fact back to slowing the spread.”

Ferrer added there are a number of data points from the last month that lead her to believe the curve is flattening.

From July 17 to Aug. 14, the number of daily hospitalizations has decreased steadily by 37 percent, according to Ferrer, who said they went down from 2,219 occasions per day in mid-July to 1,388 in mid-August.

“The decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is one of our best indicators that our efforts over the last few weeks are actually working as it’s an accurate representation of how many people are currently seriously ill from the virus,” Ferrer said, mentioning the county also hasn’t had any data problems so she knows the information is accurate.

“In late July, our average daily reported deaths was 43,” and in mid-August, the county saw an average of around 30 reported deaths per day, Ferrer said, adding: “These are all promising developments that represent the hard work and the difficult choices that are being made by residents and businesses, every single day. We know from the past that when we work together, we slow the spread, and it seems that we’ve done just that, again.

“I wanted to say how grateful I am for everyone who is doing their part to make sure that we slow the spread of COVID-19,” but there is still a ways to go until county and state leaders are confident enough to allow residents an opportunity to return to schools and get back to work, Ferrer said. “We don’t want infections from the community coming back into our schools and creating an increase of outbreaks that then increases the amount of community transmission we (could) see.”

And since the county does have the capacity to test more people for COVID-19, Ferrer said prior to the conclusion of the conference that she encourages residents who are experiencing symptoms to go out and get tested for free at a Los Angeles County testing site, which can be found online at