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Public Health Reports 24 New Deaths and 1,233 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

Public Health Reinforces Flu Immunizations for People at Increased Risk for Serious Illness as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

LOS ANGELES:- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 24 new deaths and 1,233 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 286,183 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 6,834 deaths.

There are 723 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 27% of these people in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 2,866,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive.

Public Health continues to survey skilled nursing facilities in the County for compliance with mandated COVID-19 testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. All 341 skilled nursing facilities are conducting weekly testing of residents and staff. For the week of October 3 more than 43,000 COVID-19 tests were completed among staff and residents. That week, a total of 161 new cases of COVID-19 were reported among staff and residents; 71 new cases among residents and 90 new cases among staff. Of the 341 facilities, 233 facilities reported no positive cases.

This week, there are 57 new cases among people experiencing homelessness. This includes 31 cases from previous weeks that were newly identified and were included in the new case totals. To date, Public Health has identified 1,889 cases among people experiencing homelessness. There was one new death reported among people experiencing homelessness. To date, 45 people who were experiencing homelessness have passed away from COVID-19.

Flu can be very dangerous and can lead to serious complications and unfortunately, even death. People who are older and people who have underlying health conditions, including residents living in skilled nursing facilities and people experiencing homelessness, are at increased risk. Because influenza and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, testing is the only way to know the cause of illness. Protecting against influenza is important because immunizations and antiviral medications can be offered to prevent spread and mitigate the severity of illness.

Public Health created guidance for skilled nursing facilities in preparation for the flu season during this COVID-19 pandemic. Because flu immunizations are key, Public Health guidance requires facilities to offer flu immunizations to all facility residents. In addition, staff are mandated to receive the flu immunization by a local Health Officer Order. We also recommend skilled-nursing facilities test for influenza in addition to COVID-19 if any staff member or resident develops new respiratory symptoms. During the influenza season, antiviral medications should be given to any skilled-nursing facility resident experiencing flu-like symptoms while they wait for test results.

Immunization is also a priority for reducing transmission of the flu among people experiencing homelessness. Working closely with our partners at the Department of Health Services and Housing for Health, immunizations will be offered at encampments, shelters and other locations, to both residents and staff.

“To the families mourning the loss of a loved one to COVID-19, I send my heartfelt condolences,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “The steps we are all taking to prevent transmission of COVID-19 also help prevent transmission of influenza. As we’ve seen from countries in the southern hemisphere who have already had their flu season, these actions have been effective in slowing the spread of both viruses, and many have seen fairly mild flu seasons. While we very much hope for the same here in L.A. County and across the United States, we will continue working diligently with our partners to prevent infection and to reduce transmission of the two viruses. We all have tools that work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flu: wearing face coverings and keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet whenever you are out of your home and around others; frequent handwashing and; avoiding large crowds. For flu, we have the additional tool of a safe and effective vaccine. With everyone doing their part, we reduce illness and we save lives.”

Of the 24 new deaths reported today, two people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 13 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, seven people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49. Eighteen people who died had underlying health conditions including two people over the age of 80 years old, 13 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and three people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach.

Ninety-three 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 6,430 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 51% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 23% among White residents, 14% 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, 66 cases and two deaths reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.

Published Date: Thursday, October 15th, 2020 | 09:00 PM

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