Los Angeles County officials reported 534 new cases of coronavirus and 13 more deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of patients to more than 4,000 while the death toll rises to 78 across the county.
Of the 13 deaths reported on Thursday, 12 were people over the age of 65 and all but one had underlying health conditions. Another deceased man was between 41 and 65 years old and also suffered from an underlying medical condition, said county director of public health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, on Thursday.
Of the 4,045 county coronavirus patients, almost 900 had to be hospitalized – 22% of all cases, a slight increase from the rate reported by the department in recent weeks.
Ferrer said 86% of all COVID-19 patients who died on Thursday had underlying health conditions, but almost two-thirds of the 241 hospital patients were not.
On Thursday, there were five people in intensive care units under the age of 35, according to Ferrer.
Although coronavirus testing remains limited, the county has significantly increased its capacity after a slow start, as it has slowly acquired more supplies.
More than 1,000 new cases have been confirmed in the past 48 hours alone and more than 23,300 people have been tested across the county, according to Ferrer, who said the county was working to get more testing sites in underserved communities .
Of all the people tested in the county, 13% tested positive for the coronavirus.
With an expected upsurge in infections, state health officials have urged residents to comply with home support orders and social distancing as governments struggle to find shelter for the homeless, are trying to prevent outbreaks in nursing homes and are working to get more hospital beds and protective equipment for medical workers.
Nine homeless people in L.A. County tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, said Ferrer, adding that there have been three cases in county shelters. These patients include two staff members and a guest.
Eleven people who died from respiratory disease in the county lived in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, she said.
COVID-19 also includes six staff and one inmate from county jails and six inmates at Lancaster State Prison.
As coronavirus testing sites appear across the county and more kits are being brought in, Ferrer said she expects 10,000 people to be tested every day starting next week, but warned that it would take too long to get results and that only symptomatic people should be tested.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday urged Angelenos to make his own masks to wear in public to protect himself from the spread of the virus.
Ferrer presented social distancing as the best tool to curb the spread of the disease, saying that while it is a good idea for residents to cover their mouths and noses outside, it does not mean that they should be outside all the time.
“The mask will not protect you 100%, especially against others,” she said.
Ferrer said members of the general public should not try to buy N95 masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers because supplies remain limited.
Coronavirus cases in California exceeded 10,000 on Wednesday, with Los Angeles County having the highest number of patients among all counties in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported.
And with infections increasing, Governor Gavin Newsom said schools are unlikely to reopen before summer.
“This is not what we could have imagined,” said Los Angeles County Education Bureau director Debra Duardo on Thursday. “None of us anticipated a pandemic that would close our schools and force us all to physically distance ourselves from others.”
She said the teaching would continue and urged students to take distance learning seriously.
“One thing that all educators agree on … is that students should not be penalized for this virus,” said Duardo, adding that schools work with private companies to ensure that all students also have access to the Internet and necessary electronic devices. such as planning the best course of action for high school diplomas, ranking, special education and summer courses.
Garcetti said preliminary data shows that at least 60% of Angelenos said their income stream has been significantly or somewhat reduced, with businesses and schools extending their closings to curb the spread of the disease.
Newsom on Thursday announced a new, comprehensive job search website that will help unemployed Californians – particularly those laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis – find jobs and resources.
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