LOS ANGELES:- As 19 new deaths and 1,920 new cases of COVID-19 are confirmed, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is seeing signs of stability in key indicators, including daily hospitalizations and deaths.
There are 1,514 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. Nearly a month ago the County was averaging about 2,040 daily hospitalizations. Towards the middle of July, this number was up to 2,200 daily hospitalizations. This is significant progress in the number of confirmed cases currently hospitalized daily.
To date, Public Health identified 210,424 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 4,996 deaths. Deaths in the county have declined, and today L.A. County represents less than half of all deaths in the State. For a long period, L.A. County accounted for slightly more than half the deaths statewide. Deaths remain stable at an average of 37 new deaths per day over the last two weeks.
Today’s numbers do not include backlog numbers; the State has indicated that the backlog of lab reports for L.A County from the State electronic laboratory system (ELR) should be sent shortly. Data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, were not affected by this reporting issue.
Testing results are available for more than 1,952,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive. The 7-day average positivity rate has remained mostly flat over the month of July, hovering just under 9%. There was a slight increase to 9.5% towards the end of July. However, the department is currently seeing a positivity rate of 7.3%. Please note, this rate may be adjusted depending on how the state reporting issues will affect this metric.
“Each death is devastating and as a community, we grieve for the friends, family, and neighbors that we have lost to this virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “I want to thank our residents, individuals, and business owners, for working really hard to get back to slowing the spread of this virus. We must continue on this path and build our new normal so that we can re-open our schools for in-person learning. We need to make progress so that more of our neighbors can get back to work. Please continue to wear your face coverings, avoid crowds and gathering with people that you don’t live with, practice physical distancing, and continue staying home as much as you can. This is all helping and making a difference.”
The COVID-19 contact tracing program will be in place as long as this virus continues to spread and obtaining as much information as possible from people during the case investigation interview helps contain this virus. Public Health reports the $20 gift card incentive program is working to encourage participation in the contact tracing interview process. Prior to offering the gift card, 38% of people that were contacted during the case investigation interview were willing to share information about close contacts. In the first three days of the pilot incentive program, this number increased to 62% of people providing contacts. Public Health has distributed nearly 5,000 gift cards.
Public Health continues to plan for the beginning of another school year that will restart virtual learning for students in TK-12. In-person learning isn’t allowed until the County’s case rate declines to 200 cases per 100,000 population. Los Angeles County’s case rate currently is 355 per 100,000.
In an effort to give parents and children as many options as possible for the fall, the department developed protocols for early childhood education, childcare programs for school-aged children, and day camps. The childcare protocols enable childcare centers to have more students per class, increasing the number from 10 to 12 children, to be consistent with the protocols for day camps. For childcare programs anticipated to serve school-aged children in the fall, there are new protocols that provide directives on infection control and distancing. This will provide an opportunity for children to have a safe, nurturing environment while their parents are at work. All programs for children will have to follow similar rules as childcare and day camps do now. Teachers and students will be required to maintain a safe physical distance and to wear cloth face coverings while they are together. Staff and students will be screened before the start of activities each day, and they will need to take detailed actions if anyone in the program develops symptoms of COVID-19.
COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets. Face coverings when worn snugly over the mouth and nose, limit the spread of respiratory droplets by keeping respiratory droplets from reaching someone else. These droplets are produced when people cough, sneeze, sing, raises their voice, or even talk and can land in the eyes, mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. 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.
Of the 19 new deaths, five people that passed away (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena) were over the age of 80 years old, seven people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, five people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Sixteen people had underlying health conditions including four people over the age of 80 years old, six people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, four people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and two people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old.
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 4,688 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, 24 cases reported earlier were not LA County residents.
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