LOS ANGELES – Officials reported 24 more deaths from coronavirus and 334 newly confirmed cases in Los Angeles County Sunday, bringing the county’s totals to 12,341 cases and 600 deaths.
In the Antelope Valley, there were 120 reported cases in Lancaster and 149 cases in Palmdale as of 12 p.m. Sunday, April 19, according to the LA County website.
The new numbers were grim, but better than Saturday, when the Los Angeles County reported its highest one-day death total during the entire pandemic, with 81 fatalities.
“Though there are promising signs that our collective efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are working, we are sad to report today that more Angelenos have lost their lives to COVID-19, and their loved ones are in our hearts as they mourn,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health, said Sunday.
“Despite the high number of total deaths and the continued increase in new cases, there is evidence that our physical distancing efforts are working. As we plan ahead for recovery, we ask that all remain steadfast in complying with the directives laid out in our Safer at Home Order; stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing at all times, wear face coverings when out in public, and keep hands clean.”
Of the 600 deaths, 89% had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.
Information about race and ethnicity was available for 528 victim, or 94%. Of those, 36% occurred among Latino residents, 29% among white residents, 17% among Asian residents, 16% among African American residents, and 2% among residents identifying with other races.
As of Sunday, 3,387 people who tested positive for COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
Testing capacity continues to increase in the county, with results available for more than 79,000 individuals and 15% of people testing positive, Ferrer said.
On Friday, Ferrer said 20 nursing homes or care facilities have had outbreaks of 20 or more people testing positive, and the county has asked for help from state and federal officials to control the virus’ spread and ensure affected facilities are fully staffed.
“We have requested additional assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and the state to help us address the need for increased technical assistance at the large number of sites that have positive cases,” Ferrer said. “This is particularly technical assistance around being able to implement stringent infection-control processes, and also we’ve requested additional staffing to support the high rate of staff absences at some of the facilities, which again limits the ability of the staff to provide high-quality care.
“We’re also working with a handful of nursing home providers who have offered to help us set up sites that can service COVID-19-positive patients that need to reside at skilled nursing facilities and intermediate-care facilities and are transitioning back, in many cases, from having stayed in a hospital for a few days,” she said.
Further underscoring that point, well over half of the skilled nursing facilities identified by California officials as having experienced one or more cases of COVID-19 are in Los Angeles County.
Of the 261 facilities on the California Department of Health list, 148 are located in Los Angels County.
The department’s website said the list is a snapshot representing 86% of the state’s 1,224 skilled-nursing facilities that have reported data within the last 24 hours.