Public Health Officials Urge Immediate Action as COVID-19 Cases Surge in L.A. County and Hospitalization Continue to Increase
Public Health Reports 6 New Deaths and 2,795 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County
As COVID-19 cases surge and hospitalizations continue to rise here and across California, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) urges everyone to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to stay home as much as possible for the next two to three weeks except for accessing essential services.
Today, Public Health has confirmed 6 new deaths and 2,795 new cases of COVID-19. Over the weekend, Public Health reported a total of 6,841 new cases; 3,780 new cases for Saturday and 3,061 new cases for Sunday. The County has not experienced daily numbers like this since late July, during the last surge that resulted in many people becoming very seriously ill and losing their lives to COVID-19.
Younger residents are among those driving the surge in increasing cases. In the last month, the case rate for residents age 18 to 29 years old has more than doubled, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 people to 25 cases per 100,000 people. The second highest group, residents ages 30 through 49 years old, has nearly doubled from 9.4 cases to 18 cases per 100,000 people.
There are 1,049 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 28% of these people are in the ICU. This is the highest number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 each day since the beginning of September and is the second day in a row the daily number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 exceeded 1,000.
When compared to other age groups, residents 80 years old and older are bearing the largest burden of serious illness. This is most unfortunate and serves as a stark reminder that young people are spreading the virus with disastrous results for our elderly.
Additionally, Pacific Islanders, Latino/Latinx residents and African American/Black residents consistently have the highest rate of hospitalizations across age groups. While we made progress narrowing the gaps, as cases surge, we are beginning to see higher rates of disproportionality.
It is important for everyone in L.A. County, businesses and residents, to return to the mindset we had earlier in the pandemic where we followed the rules. For residents we ask you to take the following immediate actions:
- Re-think your holiday plans and cancel any plans for travel outside the region in the coming weeks.
- If you have plans to celebrate thanksgiving with others who are not in your household, please make sure you will celebrate outdoors with only two other households. If you need to be indoors, this can only happen with members of your immediate household. This is particularly important since people will need to take off their face coverings while eating and drinking.
- Stay home as much as possible for the next two to three weeks except for accessing essential services. This is especially important for people who are older and people with serious underlying health conditions. When possible, try to use delivery services for groceries and medicines. If this isn’t possible, assign one person from your household to take care of errands and shopping.
- If you live with people that are older or have serious health conditions, wear masks and keep your distance both indoors and outdoors as much as possible. Higher risk household members should try when possible to eat by themselves and particularly avoid being in close contacts with other people who have possible exposures at their jobs or in the community.
- If you are positive or a close contact of someone who is positive, please follow the Public Health Orders to isolate or quarantine for the full amount of time; 10 days for isolating if you are positive and 14 days if you need to quarantine.
- If you have engaged in risky activities where you may have been exposed because you were in a crowd with people who weren’t wearing masks and distancing, please self-quarantine for 14 days.
Businesses can also step up by doing the following:
- Follow all safety protocols closely and ensure adherence with masking, infection control and distancing requirements.
- Make sure there are no crowded places or spaces at your site, and limit occupancy to make sure that everyone can always distance at least six feet.
- Allow as many employees to work from home as much as possible.
- Call Public Health immediately if there have been three or more cases within 14 days at your worksite at 888-397-3993.
Testing results are available for nearly 3,410,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive. While testing is essential to identifying people who are positive for COVID-19, being tested, even frequently, in no way prevents you from becoming infected, or protects others from you if you are an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. It only provides you information about one moment in time, and does not mean you will not become positive for the virus the next day or week. Wearing face coverings over both your nose and mouth, distancing from other people outside your household, hand washing and avoiding crowds are the most important prevention tools for us to use right now.
To date, Public Health identified 342,343 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,275 deaths. Upon further investigation, 12 cases reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.
“Reporting these numbers is devastating because they represent real people who are no longer with us, and we are thinking of every family member and friend who are grieving these people. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Given our recent huge increases in daily cases and now hospitalizations, it is clear that L.A. County is at a very dangerous point in the pandemic. I ask every resident and business across the county to put slowing the spread of COVID-19 at the very top of mind, all day and every day. There is no path forward for our recovery until we get this pandemic back under control. A surge like the one we are experiencing is not inevitable because the weather is colder, or we are fatigued. Every single day, health care workers and essential workers at grocery stores, driving our buses, and working in factories and farms, go to work so we can get through this pandemic with enough to eat, clothes to wear, and care when we fall sick. We need to honor and thank all our essential workers by not getting infected and passing on the virus to others. There is light at the end of the tunnel with positive news about vaccines. We need to hang in together, make sure our actions are informed by the science and take care of each other.”
Today, the state released the weekly update to each county’s current status in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier framework, and it is clear that statewide and in L.A. County, the numbers are alarming. Many California counties have moved back to Tier 1, the most restrictive tier. L.A. County’s adjusted case rate has nearly doubled, from 7.6 per 100,000 people last week to 13.7 per 100,000 people this week. The County’s overall test positivity rate increased from 3.8% to 5.3%.
Ninety-three percent of the people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. Hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are the most common underlying health conditions among people hospitalized with COVID-19. Many people have multiple underlying health conditions.
Of the six new deaths reported today, three people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old and three people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old. Five people who died had underlying health conditions including two people over the age of 80 and three people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old.
Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 6,864 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.