L.A. County seeing ‘steady declines’ in reported coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, deaths: Health director

Coronavirus
People wearing facemasks walk at the Griffith Observatory with a view of the Hollywood sign at the start of Memorial Day holiday weekend amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles on May 22, 2020. (Apu Gomes/Getty Images)

People wearing facemasks walk at the Griffith Observatory with a view of the Hollywood sign at the start of Memorial Day holiday weekend amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles on May 22, 2020. (Apu Gomes/Getty Images)

While 1,032 newly detected cases of coronavirus and 41 new deaths were reported in Los Angeles County on Saturday, public health officials say data shows that the rate of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths is steadily declining.

The new figures bring the total number of reported infections in L.A. County to 44,055, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a written statement. A total of 2,090 people have succumbed to COVID-19. The county figures include Pasadena and Long Beach, which operate their own municipal health departments.

Of the 41 newly-reported deaths, 31 of the patients were over 65 years old, officials said. Twenty-eight of them had underlying health conditions. Of the total deaths reported in the county, 93% of the patients had underlying health conditions.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with those families and friends mourning the loss of their loved ones,” L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said. “We are acutely aware of the need to continue to take steps that reduce the spread of COVID-19 during our recovery journey.”

But she said the trend appears to be moving in a positive direction.

“Thanks to everyone’s efforts, our data points to steady declines in hospitalizations, deaths, and the percent of people testing positive,” Ferrer said.

The rate of people currently testing positive for coronavirus in L.A. County as of Saturday was about 8.5%, she said. “In comparison, New York City’s positivity rate is currently 28%.”

Information regarding the current positive test rate specifically within the city of Los Angeles was not available.

“The increase we see in our number of cases is because we have increased the number of people we are testing, and this is a good thing,” Ferrer said. “We are testing more people per capita in L.A. County than the state of California, the state of Washington, the state of Georgia, the United States, and Seattle King-County. Our increased testing capacity allows for quicker identification, treatment, and isolation of people who are positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts; this helps reduce the spread of the virus.”

Authorities said 1,491 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday. Twenty-six percent of them were being treated in intensive-care units, and 18% were on ventilators.

About 14% of those infected with the novel coronavirus have required hospitalization “at some point during their illness,” the health department statement said.

The county is continuing to ramp up testing efforts, with more than 436,000 test results returned, officials added.

“Because there is a 14-day incubation period for COVID-19, the actions everyone takes today will impact where numbers are in two or three weeks,” the statement said. “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.”

More information, including a city-by-city breakdown of reported cases and a list of testing centers, is available on the L.A. County Department of Public Health website.

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