The Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 20 new deaths and 1,351 new cases of COVID-19. Public Health is seeing a gradual increase in new daily cases. Cases have increased from an average of about 940 new cases per day at the beginning of the month to, as of last week, an average of almost 1,200 new cases per day.
This gradual increase coincides with the reopening of several sectors, as well as increased gatherings associated with watching sport competitions, including celebrating the Lakers and Dodgers victories. At many of these gatherings, people were together without distancing or wearing face coverings, often inside and, unfortunately, at times transmitting COVID-19 to other people.
The County’s daily case numbers continue to keep the County in the state’s most restrictive purple tier (Tier 1) in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Currently, LA County’s adjusted case rate is 8.0 new cases per 100,000 people. This is an increase from the 7.6 adjusted case rate reported last week. In order to move to the next less restrictive tier, the County must reduce its daily number of new cases to seven or fewer new cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks.
The County’s overall test positivity rate is 3.7%, which meets the threshold for Tier 3 and the test positivity rate in our lowest-resourced areas is 6.2%, which meets the threshold for Tier 2.
To date, Public Health identified 303,369 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County and a total of 7,040 deaths. There has been a steady decrease in average daily COVID-19 deaths. During the late-July peak, the average daily deaths were 44 compared to last week’s daily average of 13 deaths per day. This continued decrease in deaths is promising. At the same time, we know that an increase in cases can result in increased hospitalizations and deaths several weeks later.
Testing results are available for more than 3,061,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive. Since mid-September, LA County’s positivity rate has been fairly stable, at a little over 3%. We are starting to see a slight increase. The County’s current average daily positivity rate is around 3.4%, compared to 3.1% a month ago.
There are 755 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 28% of these people are in the ICU. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has stabilized. The number has remained below 1,000 daily hospitalized patients for most of September and October, and LA County continues to average under 800 hospitalized patients per day. This continued stability in hospitalization numbers while the numbers of daily cases increase is likely due to a combination of three factors: First, younger people are primarily driving the increasing numbers of new cases and this is a group that may be less likely to become seriously ill and require hospitalization from COVID-19. Second, for those who do require hospitalization, the ability of health care providers to offer better therapeutic treatments often leads to shortened length of stays; and third, there is often a lag between the time we start to see increases in cases and subsequent increases in hospitalizations.
“Our deepest sympathies are with everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, director of Public Health. “The decisions that we make individually or as families can have tragic consequences for us and for others who we might not even know. Doing what we know is right – wearing face coverings regularly, avoiding gatherings, and keeping our distance from those outside our household – is critical to preventing large outbreaks in LA County. As a reminder, people who have been part of celebratory crowds where they were in close contact with others not wearing face coverings and not distancing may have been exposed to COVID-19 and they should take the following precautions over the next 14 days: remain apart from others as much as possible, get tested and monitor themselves for symptoms of illness. If they know they were in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, they need to quarantine for the full 14 days, even if they have a negative test.”
Many people, especially our younger residents, are interacting with each other while not adhering to recommended prevention measures, while our older residents continue to experience the results of increased spread with the worst health outcomes, including death. We have learned a lot about how this infection is transmitted since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s useful to reflect on what we know so that we can better understand the risks associated with certain activities. Activities that have been linked to a high number of COVID-19 cases include parties, wedding celebrations, in-person dining at bars and restaurants, and on- and off-campus socializing at universities.
Of the 20 new deaths reported today, Wednesday, eight people who passed away were over the age of 80, five people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, five people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. Eighteen people who died had underlying health conditions including seven people over the age of 80, five people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, five people between the ages of 50 and 64, and one person between the ages of 30 and 49.
The City of Glendale reports 4,564 cases, the City of La Cañada Flintridge reports 200 cases, Angeles National Forest reports two cases, Sunland reports 540 cases, Tujunga reports 637 cases, and in the unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County, Angeles National Forest reports six cases and La Crescenta-Montrose reports 241 cases.
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 6,633people (99% of the cases reported by Public Health). Upon further investigation, 59 cases and seven deaths reported earlier were not LA County residents.
Public Health continues to receive school waiver applications for grades TK-2. A total of 153 applications have been received from schools for waivers to open for grades TK-2 in-person learning, 102 applications from private schools, 46 applications from public schools, and five applications from charter schools. Waiver approvals have been issued to 29 schools to date and, as a reminder, once an application is completed, it takes two to three weeks to confer with the state and process applications. For more information, visit: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
Schools are currently permitted to open for in-person learning and necessary assessments for high-need students while adhering to the school re-opening protocols. The percentage of high-needs students permitted at a school campus for on-site learning increased from 10% to 25%. To date, 1,017 schools have opted to offer in-person learning for high-need students; 68% are public schools, 18% are charter schools, and 14% are private schools. Nearly 35,000 students and more than 20,000 staff have returned for on-site learning. A list of schools open for K-12 specialized services can be found online.
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.