Public Health Warns COVID-19 Community Transmission Continues to Increase at Concerning Levels
Public Health Reports 7 New Deaths and 2,533 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) continues to see significant increases in key indicators, including daily new cases and test positivity rates.
Today, Public Health has confirmed 7 new deaths and 2,533 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 330,450 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,221 deaths.
Since last week, L.A. County has experienced over 2,000 new cases nearly every day. On November 3, the average number of daily cases was 1,464, and one month before, on October 3, that number of daily cases reported was 988.
Testing results are available for nearly 3,320,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive. The County’s test positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that come back positive, has increased from an average of about 3.6% on October 3 to about 5.9% today.
Increasing daily case numbers and increasing test positivity percents are deeply troubling and more evidence of accelerating community transmission.
Public Health reminds everyone that testing does not prevent people from transmitting and acquiring the virus and is not a substitute for distancing from other people outside your household, wearing face coverings over your nose and mouth, hand washing and avoiding crowds.
There are 953 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 28% of these people are in the ICU. On October 3, the average daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 682 patients, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic.
When we look back at the summer surge in new cases, we are reminded to prepare for an expected increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
On May 28, the County began to experience an increase in cases, which started the steep increase in cases. Twenty-one days later, on June 18, hospitalizations began to increase. Twelve days after that, deaths began to increase. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths all reached their peak within two weeks of each other, from mid to late July. After businesses reclosed in late June through mid-July, cases steadily declined and hit their lowest level on September 10. It took an additional three weeks to see hospitalizations and deaths hit their lowest post-surge levels.
With widespread community transmission, the County’s daily case numbers continue to keep us in the State’s most restrictive purple tier (Tier 1) in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Currently, L.A. County’s adjusted case rate is 7.6 new cases per 100,000 people. This is a slight increase from the 7.5 adjusted case rate reported last week. The County must reduce its daily number of new cases to 7 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks in order to move to the next less restrictive Tier 2. The County’s overall test positivity rate is 3.8% which meets the threshold for Tier 3 and the test positivity rate in our lowest-resourced areas slightly decreased from 6.8% to 6.5% which still meets the threshold for Tier 2.
“Our deepest sympathies are with everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Unfortunately, with the recent surge in cases, we anticipate remaining in Tier 1 for the next few weeks. I don’t think this is where any of us anticipated being as we head into the fall and winter. It isn’t just that our recovery journey is stalled, it is also that we have very tough choices in front of us heading into Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. We most likely haven’t yet seen the full consequences of the surge in cases we are experiencing, and while we have made impressive strides in caring for people who are ill with the virus, this significant increase in cases may very well result in tremendous suffering and tragic deaths. We can turn this around so that we get back to slowing the spread. The actions we take today, tomorrow, and next week have tremendous impact on the health and well-being of many people in our County. If collectively we fail to stop the acceleration of new cases, we will have no choice but to take additional actions.”
Schools throughout the County have reopened for specialized services for students with high-needs, waiver programs for students in grades TK-2, childcare, and modified youth sports programs.
As of November 9, 1,571 schools have reopened for onsite learning for high-needs students; 73% are public schools, 15% are charter schools, and 12% are private schools. More than 75,000 students and more than 30,000 staff have returned for on-site learning. A list of schools open for K-12 specialized services is available online.
In addition, Public Health has received 238 applications from schools for waivers to open for grades TK-2 in-person learning; 151 applications from private schools, 81 applications from public schools, and six applications from charter schools. To date, waiver approvals have been issued to 74 schools. An additional 81 schools have been submitted to the State for final approval. For more information, visit: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov .
Given the widespread transmission of COVID-19, and as in any other sector that is open, there will be cases at school sites. And while there have been around 150 cases reported among 105,868 students and staff attending schools, there have only been 12 outbreaks associated with school sites; 11 of these outbreaks involved less than five people (primarily staff). The one site with a larger outbreak was related to a sports team that traveled to Arizona to play in a competition. All schools with cases and outbreaks are working closely with Public Health to ensure appropriate disease management and contact tracing. In accordance with Health Officer orders, people who are positive are isolated from all others for at least 10 days, and close contacts are required to quarantine for 14 days.
Of the seven new deaths reported today, two people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, two people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 50 and 64 years old. Three people who died had underlying health conditions including one person over the age of 80 and two people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old. Two deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach. Upon further investigation, 47 cases and two deaths reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.
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 6,810 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.
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.