L.A. County reports 8 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 40

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The number of novel coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County climbed to 40 as health officials announced eight new cases Friday, including another three suspected of being community-acquired.

The source of exposure to the virus for three of the new patients is unknown and is still under investigation for four other people, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said at a news conference.

One of the new cases involves a patient who had recently traveled to South Korea, Ferrer said.

The new patients are being isolated and people who have had close contact with them were quarantined.

L.A. County’s 40 cases include four reported by Long Beach and one reported by Pasadena, which both have their own public health departments.

An Apple store employee at a Third St. Promenade location in Santa Monica reported testing positive for the coronavirus, Apple confirmed to KTLA.

The employee hadn’t been at the store since taking leave on March 2 to care for a relative, but the store in Santa Monica was deep cleaned as a precaution, according to Apple.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles reported Friday that it’s treating a child between the ages of 6 and 9 who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The child is also receiving care for an unrelated underlying condition that most likely made the child vulnerable to the virus,” CHLA said in a statement, adding that the child has no history of travel.

The child is in isolation and the parents are in quarantine but aren’t showing any symptoms, according to the hospital.

Culver City announced its first presumptive coronavirus case Friday morning, saying that a resident tested positive for the virus but is waiting on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the results.

The city said the source of exposure for that patient is unknown. It’s unclear whether Culver City’s presumptive case was included in the new figures provided by L.A. County’s health officials.

A person who was in close contact with the Culver City patient is also showing symptoms and was being tested Friday.

“This case is not cause for alarm, but a reminder that members of the public should continue to use general health practices that prevent the spread of viruses in general,” Culver City officials said.

As of Friday, six of the county’s cases are suspected of being community-acquired, according to the health department.

Ferrer has said that the county’s cases are scattered throughout the region and across all districts.

The coronavirus outbreak has closed down all public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and others, shifted university courses online, shuttered theme parks and resulted in the cancellation of events throughout California as Gov. Gavin Newsom called for organizers to cancel gatherings of 250 or more people at least through March.

The goal is what health officials have described as “social distancing.” Experts hope that by preventing people from crowding together in large gatherings, the state will be able to slow the spread of the coronavirus and give health facilities time to adapt.

The state of California now has 247 cases of COVID-19 and five deaths, including one person over 60 who was in L.A. County visiting friends and had previously traveled extensively.

Of all the COVID-19 cases reported in California, the majority of the patients — 143 — are 18 to 64 years old, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Officials urged residents to stay home when they’re sick and advised those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and the elderly to avoid travel and large gatherings, since those groups could suffer more severe symptoms if infected.

“We need to make sure that we don’t see an explosion in the number of people who need to be seen in our hospitals, in our emergency rooms,” Ferrer said.

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