A man with an underlying condition has become the second person to die due to the coronavirus in Los Angeles County, as the number of cases jumped to 230, officials announced Thursday.
The person who died was described as a man in his 30s unincorporated area outside of Pasadena, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said. She did not provide additional details about the man’s underlying condition.
Family members identified the patient on social media as 34-year-old Jeffrey Ghazarian of Glendora, TMZ reported. His family posted on Facebook that he had recently visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida before testing positive for the virus on March 13, the celebrity news website said.
Alison Ghazarian Fleming, a relative, told the Miami Herald that Jeffrey had died, but she did not provide the newspaper with any details. She said TMZ had misrepresented the truth but was unclear about how, the Herald reported.
An additional 40 cases were reported in L.A. County on Thursday, bringing the total count to 230.
The first death reported in the county was on March 11, a woman over 60 with underlying health conditions who had recently traveled extensively.
Seven labs are serving L.A. County and are testing lab specimens at multiple sites, Ferrer said. She added that testing capacity is increasing, but is still “limited.”
As of Wednesday, officials L.A. County tested nearly 1,700 people, and about 13% of people who were tested were positive for COVID-19, the director said.
Ferrer continued to emphasize the importance of social distancing and again encouraged older folks, and those with underlying conditions, to stay home.
“We implore you to take seriously everyone’s obligation to limit their exposure to others and limit others from being exposed to you,” she said. “You should assume that you may be infected and that others around you are infected. Everyone should remain at home as much as possible.”
She also urged people to see their medical provider before being tested because that doctor will determine whether it’s necessary.
Similarly, Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of Los Angeles Department of Health Services asked the public not to go to a hospital just for testing.
“Hospitals and 9-1-1 emergency departments need to be available for medical emergencies,” she said.
Ferrer asked the public to remain aware of the possibilities of exposure to COVID-19.
“If you test negative today and you have no symptoms, it says nothing about where you will be tomorrow or the next day,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer explained that those experiencing mild symptoms should isolate themselves from others, including family members, for seven days. That entails no sharing of utensils, cups, or even food. Those with minor symptoms also shouldn’t be preparing others’ food.
She added that the same is encouraged if other people in your household are ill, especially if they are older or have an underlying condition.
Across California, there are 1,001 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 19 deaths.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Thursday evening show there are 10,442 diagnosed cases in the U.S., with 150 deaths.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom predicted that more than half of Californians will get infected with coronavirus over the next 8 weeks, and asked Congress for $1 billion to support California’s fight against COVID-19.