For 2nd day in a row, L.A. County sees largest single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths as total number of cases nears 10,500

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One day after recording its largest single-day jump in COVID-19 deaths, Los Angeles County on Wednesday set another record for daily deaths with 42, bringing the total countywide to 402 and the total case count to 10,496.

Of the deaths reported Wednesday, 24 patients were over 65 and 13 of those had underlying conditions. Eleven people were between 41 and 65, seven of which had underlying conditions, and one person who died was between 18 and 40 and had an underlying condition, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said.

She noted that while mortality rates are higher for people who are older and have underlying health conditions, people of all ages can get sick and die from COVID-19.

Countywide, the mortality rate for the illness stands at 3.8%.

A total of 472 new cases were also reported Wednesday, and in the last 48 hours, the county counted 1,142 more people who tested positive for COVID-19.

Out of the 330 deaths that the county has race and ethnicity information for, 15% were African American, 17% were Asian, 34% were Latinx, 31% were white and 2% identified as other.

The county is now investigating 205 institutional settings with at least one case of coronavirus, and there are 1,764 cases of the illness in such facilities.

A total of 133 people have died after living in one of these institutions, primarily at skilled nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and they represent 33% of all deaths, Ferrer said.

As a result, officials have assigned additional staff to increase support to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and a team has been formed to ensure that employees have enough personal protective equipment. Additionally, the agency is working to increase the number of sites that can serve people who have tested positive and need to reside in a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility, Ferrer said.

So far in Los Angeles County, 67,000 people have been tested for COVID-19, 11% of which were positive.

On Tuesday, Ferrer said the total number of people tested increased by 10,000.

She noted that testing capacity continues to increase and three additional drive-up sites opened Wednesday.

So far, 2,704 coronavirus patients have at some point needed hospitalization — that’s 26% of all people diagnosed with COVID-19. Currently, 1,501 people are hospitalized, 31% are in intensive care and 19% are on ventilators.

Ferrer previously discussed what needs to be done to ensure that new COVID-19 cases don’t overwhelm L.A. County’s health care system when businesses start to reopen locally.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may consider holding off on allowing large gatherings like concerts and sporting events until 2021 amid ongoing coronavirus threats, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Ferrer noted that as restrictions are slowly lifted, social distancing might need to resume.

The director reminded residents that effective at midnight, essential businesses in the county are required to provide face coverings to employees.

Everyone going into an essential business has to wear a face covering, but it is not necessary to do so while walking or running alone outside.

Those riding on public transit or going into spaces where there are other people, however, are advised to use face coverings.

The city of Glendale on Tuesday enacted tighter restrictions on face coverings, requiring residents to wear them whenever they leave their homes, including walking or running in neighborhoods. Failure to do so is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months jail time, although city officials indicated that they don’t intend to charge or cite residents, the Glendale News-Press reported.

Also on Wednesday, county Supervisor Hilda Solis provided details about the county’s partnership with Goldman Sachs to provide paycheck protection loans to local businesses and a business recovery loan program that started Monday.

Details about those programs can be found at lacountyhelpcenter.org.

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