The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County surpassed 1,200 today after the county's health department announced an additional 421 cases, bringing the total to 1,216.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the head of the county's health department said the increasing number of cases day-over-day is being largely attributed to expanded testing as well as labs being able to catch up on previous samples taken.
Another nine deaths were also reported today by county health officials, bringing the death toll in L.A. County to 21.
“We are sad to report these nine additional deaths today - it is the highest daily number we've released to date,” said Ferrer. “Unfortunately, we have been expecting this. To the families and loved ones, we are deeply sorry for your loss. This dramatic increase in cases is due in part to increased testing capacity in LA County which is allowing us to identify more positive cases. In order to slow the spread and save lives, all of us must do our part by staying home, adhering to all social distancing measures and caring for each other."
One of the previously reported death, a 17-year-old boy in Lancaster, was dropped from the count because it is still being investigated by the CDC. Another death was also dropped because L.A. county officials discovered the patient actually lived in another county.
The additional cases confirmed today also included those being reported by the Long Beach and Pasadena Health Departments, which operate separately from the rest of the county.
Ferrer also warned that if L.A. does not do more to contain the spread of COVID-19, we could see 1 million cases of COVID-19 within the next three weeks in L.A. County, adding that if 20% of people need some kind of long-term hospital care, it could overwhelm our hospitals and health care system.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger also took a moment to ask for the community's help in donating blood if they are able. Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of blood drives were cancelled around the country. Barger said that all volunteers and staff at Red Cross donation centers would have their temperature checked to ensure they are healthy while collecting donations.
The number of confirmed cases around the Southland include:
- Los Angeles County: 1216 - 21 deaths
- Orange County: 187 - 1 death
- Riverside County: 107 - 6 deaths
- Ventura County: 50 - 1 death
- San Bernardino County: 54 - 2 deaths
- San Diego County: 293 - 2 deaths.
Statewide, there are more than 3,200 cases with at least 68 deaths reported. Health officials say there have been more than 78,300 cases with 1,135 deaths so far nationwide.