LOS ANGELES – Two more people in Los Angeles County have died from coronavirus, public health officials announced Monday while confirming another 128 positive cases of the illness, pushing the total to 536. Six of those confirmed cases are in the Antelope Valley, according to an update by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
“Our Deputy Mayors have now confirmed six cases of COVID-19 in the Antelope Valley. Three of these cases will soon be discharged from the hospital,” the Lancaster city website states.
No details were immediately released about the two patients in Los Angeles County who recently died. With 128 new cases — the largest daily jump so far — Los Angeles County now has 536 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths, according to information that was updated at 12 p.m. on Monday, March 23.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, head of the county’s public health department, said 42% of the patients are between the ages of 18 and 40, while 80% are between the ages of 18-65. She stressed the figures to drive home the point that the illness can affect anyone of any age — even young people who have generally been harder to convince of the need for social distancing.
Health officials have stressed since the outbreak began that while older people, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women can suffer more severe consequences from contracting coronavirus, the threat of being diagnosed with the illness is spread across all age groups. And while younger patients may suffer lesser symptoms, they can still spread the illness to people who may become more severely ill.
County officials again stressed that the number of cases will continue to increase as more testing becomes available. Ferrer noted that of the people being tested in the county, about 10% are testing positive for the illness.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his agency will be providing 250,000 N95 protective masks to a medical supply distributor for distribution to hospitals throughout the county. He said another 125,000 will be provided to the Los Angeles Police Department, and more will be provided to other law enforcement agencies.
County officials again drove home the need for people to adhere to social distancing requirements and follow the mandates of the “Safer at Home” orders that were issued last week. The restrictions were ramped up over the weekend in response to continued large-scale gatherings of people at beaches — most notably the Venice boardwalk — and on hiking trails.
The previous order prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people, but the revised wording released over the weekend prohibits “all indoor and outdoor public and private gatherings and events.”
People who go out for shopping or essential jobs are required to remain at least six feet away from anyone else. Residents are still free to go outside for walks, hikes or bike rides, but not in large groups.
Saturday’s enhanced order also clarified that golf courses and personal grooming services — including hair and nail salons — are nonessential services and are closed. [View the order here.]
It requires “all indoor malls and shopping centers, all swap meets and flea markets, all indoor and outdoor playgrounds and all non-essential businesses to close.”
Businesses considered essential and permitted to remain open include hardware stores, repair shops, media outlets, banks, laundromats, dry-cleaners and pet supply stores.
Officials said the order was amended to more closely mirror Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest state order. It covers all 88 cities in Los Angeles County.
California health officials on Monday reported 1,733 positive cases across the state, with 27 deaths.