LOS ANGELES – COVID-19 deaths continue to mount in Los Angeles County, with 40 new deaths reported Saturday, along with 1,073 new cases.
To date (May 16), Public Health has identified 37,303 positive cases and 1,793 deaths in Los Angeles County, including 556 cases and 13 deaths in Palmdale; 463 cases and eight deaths in Lancaster; 31 cases and seven deaths in Quartz Hill; 26 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 31 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and eight cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
Ninety-two percent of people who died had underlying health conditions, according to county health officials.
With more businesses opening and the weather improving, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned residents of gathering with friends and family, while acknowledging it will occur.
“Seeing friends, we’re not recommending that at this point in time,” Ferrer said. “We are recommending that you continue to do your distancing in the ways that we’ve recommended before.”
“We do appreciate that there are circumstances where you may be around some other people,” she said, adding that in those circumstances, “We do recommend you’re at least keeping that six-foot distance and that you’re using a cloth face covering to try to protect other people, and they should do the same to protect you.”
Despite the ever-increasing numbers, Ferrer again stressed that the rate of the virus’ spread has been slowed by the county’s Safer At Home orders mandating face masks, social distancing and asking people to remain home as much as possible.
She echoed numbers from Thursday, showing that on average, people infected with the virus are in turn infecting one other person. That’s down from an initial rate of three other people per patient.
“And that’s only because of all of the work that you’ve done,” Ferrer said. “So I ask you to continue to practice physical distancing, continue to wear your cloth face coverings when you’re among other people because these actions work. This is your way of keeping other people safe.”
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, said that if social distancing and other restrictions had not been imposed, the coronavirus outbreak would be far worse.
“If everyone across Los Angeles County had not honored the Safer At Home health officer order, then we would be in the midst of a public health disaster the likes of which none of us would like to be experiencing, and that would be difficult to imagine,” Ghaly said.
The county health order requires that residents wear face coverings in proximity to others who are not members of their households. Ferrer also issued a warning to people engaging in rigorous exercise while wearing a mask.
“If you’re out in hot weather and you’re exerting yourself … if you are going to be around a lot of other people, you have to take a lot of care because it can be dangerous if you’re running hard, for example, if you have that cloth face covering over your mouth and your nose because it does make it more difficult for you to breathe.
“We encourage people who want to do exertion that’s going to task their lungs to please do that in a solitary way. Go for a solitary run so that you’re not around other people,” Ferrer said.
An interactive dashboard is available that provides comprehensive information on COVID-19 cases and deaths, along with maps and graphs showing data by city and community. To view Public Health’s COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, visit: http://dashboard.publichealth.lacounty.gov/covid19_surveillance_dashboard/