LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday confirmed 57 new deaths and 1,324 new cases of coronavirus.
To date (May 20), Public Health has identified 40,857 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,970 deaths in all of Los Angeles County, including 588 cases and 14 deaths in Palmdale; 496 cases and eight deaths in Lancaster; 32 cases and seven deaths in Quartz Hill; 27 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 32 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 11 cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
Ninety-two percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 99 percent of the cases — 39% of deaths occurred among Latinx residents, 29% among White residents, 18% among Asian residents, 12% among African American residents, 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races.
As of Wednesday, 5,966 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (15% of positive cases) had been hospitalized at some point during their illness. There are 1,531 people who are currently hospitalized; 28% of these people are in the ICU and 19% are on ventilators.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer issued what is likely to be the first of multiple warnings ahead of the Memorial Day weekend that large public gatherings are still barred under the county’s health orders.
“We can enjoy our beaches for active recreation and being sure not to create crowded conditions that don’t allow for physical distancing,” Ferrer said. “And we can also enjoy our beautiful weather in our own neighborhoods and our backyards. I want to remind folks that gatherings and events of any kind are not permitted. The virus hasn’t changed. It’s still relatively easy to become infected, particularly if you’re not taking precautions. Unfortunately, there have been recent parties and gatherings that did result in a number of newly infected people. So please find ways to enjoy the holiday with people from your own household or with friends and family from afar using our technology tools. Being together from a distance is currently our new normal.”
Los Angeles County’s Economic Resiliency Task Force, which includes members of the Board of Supervisors and local business leaders, met on Tuesday and set a target date of July 4 for a full or staged reopening of most of the county’s economy.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Wednesday that goal was set following a meeting that included some dire numbers presented by business leaders.
“It was sobering,” she said. “The restaurant industry reported that 80% of jobs have been lost. The entertainment industry indicated that 890,000 film and entertainment employees are not working, which trickles down to many of the small businesses that provide support for this industry.
“… Anyone listening to yesterday’s meeting heard loud and clear that employees and businesses are suffering,” Barger said. “The economic impacts created by COVID-19 have hurt our most vulnerable populations the most. Prolonged closure means many small businesses may not be able to reopen and will cause permanent job losses for millions throughout this county. I understand the urgency to reopen quickly, but we must do it safely and public health guidance has to (guide) what we do.”
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/
Editor’s note: Many readers have inquired about the COVID-19 recovery rate for the Antelope Valley, however, the county has not shared that information. In order to be considered recovered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person must be free of a fever without the help of medication, show improvement in respiratory conditions, and receive negative results from two separate COVID-19 tests performed at least 24 hours apart. The priority for testing right now may be diagnoses, not recovery.