Coronavirus May Stabilize in L.A. County, New Forecast

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Los Angeles County health officials offered slightly rosier projections for the path of the virus in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, but warned that improving prospects depended on residents continuing their physical distances.

Presenting a new update to the county coronavirus model, County Health Services Director Christina Ghaly said that although COVID-19 cases are not decreasing here yet, “it is stabilizing, which is a good thing “.

“Ten days ago, our best prediction was that we were going to see a continuous increase in the daily number of new patients, but we didn’t know how rapid this increase would be and how steep this slope would be,” said Ghaly . “Instead, due to physical remoteness, our current projection is that the number of new cases will remain stable. “

Based on the new forecast – which Ghaly warned is inherently uncertain – authorities continue to expect demand for hospital beds and ventilators. In particular, the county’s ability to meet the demand for intensive care beds has improved; while initial modeling indicated that there was a 50% chance that there would not be enough intensive care beds, the model now indicates that the beds currently available will be sufficient.

Authorities now predict that about two in 20 Angelinos, or 11% of the county, could contract the virus by August 1 below the current level of physical distancing. This represents a substantial reduction from the model’s initial estimate that 30% of the county’s residents could be infected.

Dr. Roger Lewis, biostatistician and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said the initial 30% prediction reflected the average of many possibilities, including a potential peak of case or slower spread .

“Fortunately – and this is good news – the number of cases is in the lower range of uncertainty we had with the previous model,” said Lewis, who runs the county model.

Ghaly and Lewis both pointed out that the most optimistic projections are due to the physical measures of distancing the county – and warned that if such efforts were abandoned, the outlook could become bleaker.

“We have to keep this going,” said Ghaly, noting that even though county officials are looking to ease their order to stay home in the coming weeks, there will always be an emphasis on keeping distance when people are in public.

“I know it’s hard. I know many of us are feeling the weight of these restrictions and are impatient to be able to get out of our homes more and go back to work and school, “said Ghaly. “But know that your actions have saved lives and protect the lives and health of those around you and those you love. “

“It will end, and until then, thank you for your persistence in these difficult times,” she added.

The forecast comes despite a slight increase in recent days, both in deaths and in confirmed cases.

Los Angeles County health officials announced an additional 66 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 729 Since the epidemic has begun.

Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, also confirmed 1,318 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the cumulative total to 16,435.

The latest victims are 48 people aged over 65, 13 people aged 41 to 65 and two people aged 18 to 40. Age was not available for the other three.

“This highlights the need for all of us to do the best job we can to ensure that people with serious health problems can stay home and stay safe,” she said.

On Wednesday, according to Ferrer, 1,791 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized throughout the county, including 30% in intensive care and 19% on ventilators.



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