2ND UPDATE, 12: 50 PM: Three more people have died of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County in the past 24 hours, local officials said in their daily update today, bringing the total to 13. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health for L.A. County, also said that 138 new cases were reported since Tuesday’s update.
She noted that the new death toll does not include the Lancaster teenager who died Tuesday because an investigation into his death has been launched.
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During today’s update that was livestreamed on Facebook, Ferrer said 4,700 people in L.A. County have been tested for the coronavirus, and 11% have tested positive. One hundred sixty of those who tested positive, or 20%, have been hospitalized. One percent of those who have tested positive in L.A. County have died; the mortality rate nationwide is 1.5%, Ferrer said, noting that the figure is higher than that of the annual flu.
The region now has 799 confirmed cases. She noted that “fully 80% of all positive tests are among people ages 18 to 65” and 40% are ages 18-40.
UPDATED, March 23: Local health officials reporters 128 new cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles County today — the exact same number as reported on Monday — and four new deaths, including one teenager in Lancaster. That’s twice the number of people who died in the region from Sunday to Monday, bringing the local total to 11.
During today’s update that was livestreamed on Facebook, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health for L.A. County, called the young person’s death “a devastating reminder that COVID-19 affects people of all ages.” She reiterated that the number of cases in L.A. County is likely to continue rising due to the increasing availability of testing. But Ferrer said people who are tested should assume they are positive and immediately isolate themselves and notify their close contacts so those people also can go into quarantine.
L.A. County now has 662 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from the 536 total reported Monday.
“Please take care of yourself,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said during today’s news conference. “You are not alone.”
PREVIOUSLY, March 23: Los Angeles City and County officials used their daily coronavirus update Monday to note that a deal has been reached to bring some 20,000 testing kits to the region but also gave more sobering numbers about the number of local cases.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health for L.A. County, said 128 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county, along with two more deaths. That brings the total number of cases in L.A. County to 536, and seven people have died. She noted that 80% of the cases are among people ages 18-65 and 42% are 18-40.
“This virus can, in fact, affect people across the board,” Ferrer stressed, and she — and other officials who were on the update — continued to hammer home the need for social distancing and self-isolation for people who have contracted the disease or believe that they might have it. She said it’s “inappropriate for people to be gathering,.” adding that it’s not a “sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t” proposition.
Multiple other local officials for the world’s 26th-largest economy also spoke during the update, which again was livestreamed on Facebook, including City Council members Nury Martinez and David Ryu, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Ryu says the city and county of L.A. have struck a deal with a South Korean company to obtain a thousand more testing kits for the region. “We have secured 20,000 new tests for the coronavirus, with the ability to locally run and process 5,000 of those tests by Friday,” he said. Ryu noted that the first round “will prioritize health workers and first responders.”
He added: “With increased testing will most likely come more positive tests. “We cannot beat a pandemic we cannot see, and we cannot better address this crisis” without more testing.
All tests will be free to the public, Ryu said.
Addressing the “global bottlenecks and shortages” of needed equipment such as masks and gloves, he added, “Los Angeles is not going to wait around.”
Villanueva said the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department will provide a quarter-million protective masks to a supplier in Long Beach that will distribute them to local hospitals. The LAPD is acquiring 125,000 more, which will be available to other law enforcement agencies.
“This is a storm like we’ve never seen,” Villanueva said. “But it still is a storm, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And we will get through this.”
Earlier today, Martinez announced that the City Council has canceled its planned meeting until further notice as staff works on the logistics of holding meeting remotely during the coronavirus crisis.
The council’s committee meetings, commissions and other board meetings already had been canceled.
Here is the latest list of coronavirus cases broken out by locality, as of Sunday:
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