After steady decrease, COVID-19 spikes again in LA County

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While the numbers have not been reported fully, it seems that the first day after Memorial Day will end up significantly worse for coronavirus infections than others to day, even in the context of time since April 15. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Public Health

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 1,843 new cases and 27 deaths from 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday. This is just a day after 14 new deaths and 940 new cases were reported, signalling another potential spike in Los Angeles County.

This represents a significant increase from the previous few days, and the 1,843 new cases marks the highest daily increase of cases during the pandemic. The spike comes 18 days after Governor Gavin Newsom began reopening California. Phase 3 of the reopening, which includes in store retail, barber shops, and nail salons, began Wednesday, though the order did not extend to Los Angeles County due to its inability to meet the criteria of less than 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens in the past 14 days.  

Ten people who died were over the age of 65 years old and two people who died were between the ages of 41 to 65 years old. Nine people had underlying health conditions including eight people over the age of 65 years old and one person between the ages of 41 to 65 years old. One death was reported by the city of Long Beach and one death by the city of Pasadena.

As of Tuesday, Public Health has identified 47,822 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 2,143 deaths. Ninety-three percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. 

Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 1,941 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health) 40% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 29% among White residents, 17% among Asian residents, 12% among African American residents, 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races. 

Upon further investigation, seven cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. As of today, 6,177 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (14% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. 

There are 1,490 people who are currently hospitalized, 28% of these people are in the ICU and 19% are on ventilators. Testing capacity continues to increase in LA County, with testing results available for nearly 465,000 individuals and 8% of people testing positive.

“For the people who are mourning a loved one who has passed away from COVID-19, we think of you every day and we wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Together, the LA County Community has made progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, as demonstrated in the decreasing numbers of daily hospitalizations and deaths.  Please remember, the job we continue to do to protect each other will affect how many new cases, new hospitalizations and new deaths we will see several weeks from now.”

The current Health Officer Order replaces the previous Health Officer Order and allows for the reopening of beach bike paths and parking lots, indoor mall curbside service, and select vehicle parades. 

Retailers remain closed to public entry along with beach piers, and public and private gatherings of any number of people outside of a single household unit are still not permitted. The Health Officer Order continues to require specific higher-risk businesses to remain closed and prohibit dining in at restaurants. 

Restaurants are still allowed to serve food to customer via delivery, take-out or drive-thru. Everyone must continue to follow distancing and infection control protocols, stay at least six feet apart and wear a clean cloth face covering that securely covers both your nose and mouth when in contact with other people not in your household. 

The best protection against COVID-19 continues to be to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, and to practice physical distancing  and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household. 

People who have underlying health conditions remain at much greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, so it will continue to be very important for the County’s vulnerable residents to stay at home as much as possible, to have groceries and medicine delivered, and to call their providers immediately if they have even mild symptoms.

LA County is in stage two of the five-stage Roadmap to Recovery and until the final stage five is reached, Health Officer Orders and directives will continue to ensure that we slow spread of COVID-19 to prevent an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases at healthcare facilities. 

The Health Officer Order, 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.