LOS ANGELES:– 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.”
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