Public Health Highlights Increases in Gatherings Connected to Rise in Cases
Public Health Reports 2 New Deaths and 1,406 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 2 new deaths and 1,406 new cases of COVID-19. The low number of new deaths reported today reflect a reporting lag from over the weekend.
The 7-day average number of cases by episode date continues to rise. Cases have increased from around 940 new cases per day in early October, to more than 1,275 new cases per day last week. The episode date is either the date a person was tested for COVID-19 or first had symptoms.
To date, Public Health identified 310,595 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,076 deaths. Upon further investigation, one case reported earlier was not a L.A. County resident.
Public Health cautions residents that attending gatherings, even small ones, are extremely risky and can easily result in increased transmission of the virus.
The University of Southern California’s Center for Social and Economic Research conducts a weekly representative survey with L.A. County residents about their actions through the pandemic. As cases increase in the County, survey respondents have also indicated increases in close contact between residents from different households and gatherings. This includes going to a reunion, wedding, funeral, birthday party, concert, or religious service or going to a friend, neighbor, or relative’s house or having visitors at their house. Since April there has been a 57% increase in people reporting close contact with people they don’t live with. More than 10% of respondents reported they had been at a gathering of more than 10 people in the last 7 days. For perspective, if 10% of L.A. County residents attend gatherings, this translates to 1 million people gathering with others not in their household. And if we assume that about 2% are infected, we could possibly have 20,000 people capable of infecting others at gatherings each week.
When combining information from the USC survey with information about exposures that are gathered through contact tracing, it points to increased gatherings being one of the drivers of the recent surge in cases in L.A. County.
“We send our deepest sympathies to everyone who is mourning a loved one or friend who has passed away from COVID-19. You are in our thoughts every day,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With our cases already increasing, we are concerned about the coming months – holiday gatherings and cooler weather where people are more likely to gather indoors are perfect conditions for spreading COVID-19. While it is easy to believe that the virus won’t spread among your friends and family, there are so many examples that prove otherwise. Unfortunately, with just one infected person at a well-intentioned gathering, dozens and dozens of people can become infected over weeks and weeks of virus transmission. Some people will become seriously ill, and some may even die.”
The County has planned for ways for residents to vote safely. Public Health reminds residents who vote in-person to take the following safety precautions:
- Wear a face covering
- Practice physical distancing in line and at voting booths
- Bring hand sanitizer
- Avoid crowds
- Vote by mail or drop off a completed ballot at an official drop box. You can vote by mail or drop your ballot off at an official drop box through tomorrow, November 3 at 8:00 p.m.
For more information on the locations and hours of vote centers and ballot drop boxes, visit: LAVote.net.
Of the two new deaths reported today, both people were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and both people had underlying health conditions.
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 6,668 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 52% 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.
There are 777 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 3,160,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive.
The Reopening Protocols, 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.