LOS ANGELES – Health officials reported 456 new cases of COVID- 19 and 25 additional deaths in Los Angeles County Saturday, for a total of 8,873 cases and 265 deaths.
In the Antelope Valley, there were 83 reported cases in Lancaster and 89 cases in Palmdale as of 12 p.m. Saturday, April 11, according to the LA County Department of Public Health website. COVID-19 has also been confirmed in residents of Acton and Lake Los Angeles as well as in residents of Sun Village, Quartz Hill and the western Antelope Valley, but the numbers are unspecified because of the communities’ small population, county officials said.
The numbers come as local residents prepare for an unusual Easter Sunday in which all county parks and nature areas will be closed to the public in an effort to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
“As people of different faiths come together this weekend, my thoughts and prayers are with all those who are experiencing loss, illness and distress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “I want to thank all our faith leaders who are tending to the spiritual needs of their members and exercising creative ways to ensure fellowship from a physical distance. And I want to express my gratitude to all the people of LA County who are finding ways of observing their faith while staying safe at home.”
As of Saturday, 2,172 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (24% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness Ferrer said. She added that testing capacity continues to increase in the county, with results available for over 45,000 individuals and 14% of people testing positive.
The county’s mortality rate from the illness — the percentage of people with the disease who have died — crept upward on Friday, reaching 2.9%. The county’s mortality rate last week was 1.8%.
According to Ferrer, 28% of the people who have died from coronavirus in the county were residents of nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. The county is investigating cases at 159 “institutional settings,” such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails and prisons that have had at least one case. Those institutions have had a total of 1,062 cases and 67 deaths, all among residents.
A total of 53 cases have been confirmed in the county’s jails — eight inmates and 45 staff members. There were also 23 cases in prisons, while two staff members at the county juvenile hall in Sylmar have also tested positive.
On Thursday, Ferrer reported 20 cases among homeless people in the county, but that number dropped Friday to 18, with Ferrer saying two of the patients reported earlier turned out not to have the coronavirus.
The countywide parks closure was ordered “with the top priority being the health and safety of our park guests, team members, and community,” said Norma E. Garcia, acting director of L.A. County Parks and Recreation. “We know Easter is day of celebration for many park guests and fun tradition for LA County Parks, and we appreciate the public’s support and understanding as we collectively work to flatten the curve of the coronavirus.”
The order applies to all county botanic gardens, lakes, and local, community and regional parks.
“(LA County Parks) continues to assess daily operations and implement precautionary measures in response to COVID-19, working closely with County leaders and the Department of Public Health. Currently, play and sports amenities, indoor facilities, nature centers, golf courses, sports and recreation programs, and multi-use trails are closed to the public,” county officials said. “Local and regional parks remain open, with the except of April 12, as outdoor-only facilities with social distancing required and group gatherings of any size prohibited.”
The Jewish holiday Passover began at sundown Wednesday and ends at sundown April 16. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins April 23.
For more information on closures and changes in response to COVID-19, visit the LA County Parks website at https://parks.lacounty.gov/covid-19.