L.A. County Exceeds 400,000 COVID-19 Cases as Surge in COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue

17 New Deaths and 5,150 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has reported more than 400,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. To date, Public Health identified 400,919, positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,655 deaths.  Today, Public Health has confirmed 17 new deaths and 5,150 new cases of COVID-19. This is far higher than the County’s peak number of daily cases during the summer surge, which averaged 2,950 cases on July 14.

There are 2,185 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU.  This is more than two times the average seen on November 13 when the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 974.

Public Health remains concerned not only about the people who are suffering from COVID-19, but also about how increasing numbers in hospitalization could overwhelm the healthcare system.

Hospitals across the country and world have been overwhelmed and have not had enough capacity to treat patients who have COVID-19, but also serve patients who are in need of medical care for other reasons. This remains a concern here in L.A. County, and although currently we have adequate capacity at hospitals and there are extensive plans in place to take appropriate actions to manage the increases, a continued surge in cases and hospitalizations is not sustainable.

Public Health is closely tracking the number of positive cases among healthcare workers related to the COVID-19 pandemic response to be sure we have sufficient healthcare workers to staff our facilities and care for patients. This week, we are reporting an additional 747 new cases among healthcare workers.

Throughout the pandemic, the largest proportion of positive cases in healthcare workers were among people working in skilled nursing facilities. To date, almost one-third of healthcare worker cases are in people working in skilled nursing facilities.

Once there are increases in the number of infected healthcare workers at skilled nursing facilities, more residents are also likely to become infected. L.A. County is experiencing increases in cases among skilled nursing facilities residents.  From November 1 through November 21, cases among residents have increased 89%, from 146 to 276 cases.

L.A. County is also seeing increases in people residing in skilled nursing facilities passing away from COVID-19.  During the week of November 1, 17 residents passed away, and during the week of November 15, 30 residents passed away.

Public Health is working with skilled nursing facilities to ensure they are as safe as possible.  Facilities are now testing staff twice weekly.   In addition to the existing protocols for infection control and the assistance we have been providing, we have taken additional actions. We are offering more direct assistance for difficult outbreaks or outbreaks of high concern in skilled nursing facilities. Public Health is also providing additional support to assist in data gathering and analysis, identifying any potential issues that could lead to inadequate supply of personal protective equipment, as well as offering additional infection prevention and control training.

“It is important to remember that behind our daily reported number of deaths are real people, and that many across our county are grieving them.  To all who have lost someone to this virus, our hearts and our deepest condolences go out to you,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We are at the most difficult moment time in the pandemic. The alarming increases in cases that we continue to witness is not due to random events out of our control – many of these cases could have been prevented if individuals and businesses were following the straightforward public health measures of masking, distancing and infection control.  As we are all seeing, when even relatively small numbers of businesses and individuals fail to adhere to sensible precautions, many others experience the consequences of these lapses. Until there is a vaccine, each of us needs to protect all of those around us, both those we know and those we don’t. The virus is running rampant through almost every part of our county and our most sensible course of action is to make sure that everyone is always masked when they are around any others outside their household.”

It is very possible that within a week, the County will experience the daily number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 around 2,500. A week after that, the average daily number of deaths could be around 50 people.  We know that the effects of actions we took this past weekend will be seen in about two weeks from now in the number of daily cases.  If you did travel or gather over the holiday, it is important for you to quarantine for 14 days. It is very possible that you were exposed to someone who is infected with COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising those who travel should test twice during the quarantine period, once a couple of days after you return, and another test taken five to seven days later.  Please note, that a negative test does not mean you don’t need to remain home in quarantine since this virus can incubate over 14 days.

Effective today, Monday, November 30, additional safety measures go into effect that aim to reduce the risk of transmission in the following several ways:

  • Requesting that individuals remain in their homes and with their immediate households as much as possible and reduce mingling with others not in your household.
  • Requiring that everyone wear a face covering whenever they are engaging in activities outside their homes where they are or can be in contact with others not in their household; this includes at gyms, at parks, at beaches. Unless swimming, please keep your face covering on over your nose and mouth.
  • And reducing capacity at sites where non-household members mingle to avoid crowding.

The additional safety modifications in the Order will remain in effect for three weeks until December 20 and include the following changes:

  • Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
    • Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
    • Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
    • Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
    • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
    • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools:
    • All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed non-essential businesses/activities:
    • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)
    • Cardrooms

Businesses that are not adhering to safety protocols to protect workers and customers increase the risk for transmission of COVID-19. A list of non-compliant businesses that received citations can be found online.

Of the 17 new deaths reported today, nine people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, six people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and two people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old.  Fourteen people who died had underlying health conditions including eight people over the age of 80 years old, six people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and one person between the ages of 50 and 64 years old.

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 7,228 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 52% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 24% among White residents, 14% among Asian residents, 9% 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, 74 cases and one death reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.

Testing results are available for more than 3,734,000 individuals with 10% 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.