L.A. County Health Officials reported another 66 deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's death toll to 729. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the head of the Department of Public Health also reported another 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus today, bringing the countywide total to 16,435.
According to Dr. Ferrer, there are currently 1,791 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in L.A. County, 30% are in the ICU and 19% are on ventilators. Around 90,000 people in the county have been tested for COVID-19, with 15% of people testing positive for the disease.
"I encourage any residents with symptoms to be tested," said Ferrer. "The test is fairly easy and takes only five to 10 minutes."
With hot weather forecast for the rest of the week, health officials cautioned anyone who might want to get outside and enjoy the nice weather amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Ferrer reminded people that when they go outside, they should be wearing a cloth face covering and keeping their distance from other people.
County officials have stepped up their focus on testing residents, with Dr. Ferrer adding that five officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arriving on Thursday to inspect nursing facilities and improve infection-control measures at institutional settings, where a series of deaths have been reported at more than 270 facilities that include nursing homes, skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails and prisons.
“With the new information that's emerging that indicates there are many more people than we thought that are positive for COVID-19 and they're not sick, we have to change our strategies and adjust,” Ferrer said. “This is particularly true at all of our institutional settings, particularly at the skilled nursing homes where in the past we have done a lot of our infection- control protocols around an assumption that we needed to worry about people who are symptomatic and test people who are symptomatic and not allow people who were symptomatic and were employees to come into a facility to do their jobs.
“But it turns out that we were wrong, and with new information it has become clear that asymptomatic people are capable of spreading the virus, and this is particularly true in a facility where all of the care for most of the residents happens because employees are bathing people, they're feeding people, they're moving people, they're in extraordinarily close contact with the people who reside there and really making sure those people have what they need every single day.”
The number of confirmed cases around Southern California include:
- Los Angeles County: 16,435 cases - 729 deaths
- Orange County: 1,753 cases - 34 deaths
- Riverside County: 2,960 cases - 93 deaths
- Ventura County: 443 cases - 13 deaths
- San Bernardino County: 1,489 cases - 67 deaths
- San Diego County: 2,434 cases - 87 deaths
Statewide, there are more than 36,017 cases with at least 1,350 deaths reported. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 844,384 cases nationwide with the death toll reaching 47,217 by Wednesday afternoon.