LAX Surpasses 600,000 Cases as Hospitalizations Continue to Soar

 


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has reported more than 600,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. More than 100,000 new cases have been reported since December 11, when L.A. County reached 500,000 COVID-19 cases.  L.A. County is experiencing the fastest acceleration of new cases than at any other time during the pandemic.


To date, Public Health identified 610,372 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 8,817 deaths.  Today, Public Health has confirmed 60 new deaths and 13,756 new cases of COVID-19.


There are 5,424 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 21% of these people are in the ICU. Today's number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is again a new high and an increase of more than 300 patients since yesterday.  Hospital capacity across the county is limited, and healthcare workers are hard-pressed to keep up with the need for care.  And the only means available to improve the situation at the hospitals is to reduce the number of people becoming newly infected with COVID-19.


A recent decision by the Court of Appeal affirms Los Angeles County's duty to prevent disease transmission and protect public health through existing Health Officer Orders, and the suspension of outdoor dining remains in effect.  Public Health reminds all sectors and businesses that all other requirements, safety directives, and temporary business closures also remain in effect. 


The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified today to align with recent Supreme Court rulings for places of worship.  Places of worship are permitted to offer faith-based services both indoors and outdoors with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings over both the nose and mouth that must be worn at all times while on site. Places of worship must also assure that attendance does not exceed the number of people who can be accommodated while maintaining a physical distance of six feet between separate households. 


Public Health strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors, with physical distancing and the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community. Because Los Angeles County is experiencing an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, every effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community is critical. 


Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the second vaccine to prevent COVID-19 severe illness. The EUA allows the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed throughout the country.  Public Health expects doses of this vaccine to arrive in L.A. County next week. Once these doses arrive, they will be used to vaccinate staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities, frontline EMS EMT’s and paramedics, and vaccinators.


Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 initial allocation of vaccine is being used by acute care hospitals to vaccinate frontline health care personnel. A second allotment of Pfizer vaccine is anticipated to arrive next week and will be used to vaccinate additional healthcare workers at acute care hospitals.


Of the 60 new deaths reported today, 29 people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 17 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, nine people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Forty-six people who died had underlying health conditions including 25 people over the age of 80 years old, 13 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, six people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and two people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Two deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena and one death was reported by the City of Long Beach.


“Our hearts go out to everyone grieving the loss of a loved one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We are bearing witness every day to the terrible suffering caused by a virus that is spreading out of control throughout the county.  Places where people from different households gather and do not follow safety directives contributes to unnecessary COVID-19 spread that results in hospitalizations and deaths that could have been avoided.  Following the safety measures saves lives and is our only way to protect essential workers and our hospitals. Stay home as much as possible, do not mingle with others, and do not travel. Always wear a face covering, keep distance from others, frequently wash hands, and limit all non-essential activities."


 If you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, isolate immediately from your family and others. Individuals with underlying health conditions and those that are older should remain in their home and not be around others unless seeking essential health and dental care. If you are having difficulty breathing, go to an emergency room or call 911.


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