LOS ANGELES – More than 30 additional deaths due to the coronavirus were reported Wednesday by Los Angeles County health officials, along with 1,260 new cases, while the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 continued its slow upward climb.
To date (June 24), Public Health has identified 89,490 positive cases of COVID-19 and 3,205 coronavirus deaths across all areas of LA County, including 1,126 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths in Palmdale; 947 cases and 14 deaths in Lancaster; 54 cases and nine deaths in Quartz Hill; 48 cases and two deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 56 cases and no deaths in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 39 cases and no deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
Health officials in the county and state have been expressing concern about recent increases in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday morning that across the state, the number of people hospitalized has jumped by about 29% over the past two weeks.
In Los Angeles County, the number has been slowly climbing for the past week, and as of Wednesday, the number stood at 1,556, up from 1,515 on Tuesday. The county Department of Public Health noted this week that the number is still less than the pandemic peaks of more than 1,900 patients, and there is no immediate threat of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients.
But the rate of people testing positive for the virus has been on the rise. As of Tuesday, the seven-day average of positive tests was 8.8%, up from 5.8% just two weeks ago. Newsom said a similar spike in the positivity rate was being seen statewide.
Unlike previous large jumps in daily cases, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said this week that the recent increases were not attributable solely to backlogs in test reports from testing labs. Instead, she said the increases were indicative of increased community spread of the virus, likely the result of more people being out of their homes as sectors of the economy reopened.
Such a rise was anticipated when the county began reopening businesses about a month ago, leading to more people being out of their homes and interacting with other people. Although no clusters of cases have been specifically linked to recent mass protests against police brutality, Ferrer said it was also highly likely that those marches — many of which included large numbers of people without masks and ignoring social-distancing mandates — caused more spread of the virus.
Continued increases in hospitalizations and positivity rates in testing could raise the possibility of the county re-imposing business closures and stricter stay-at-home orders to avoid overwhelming hospitals.
“Public Health will monitor the data closely to see how increases in cases and rates of positivity affect the number of daily hospitalizations over the next few weeks,” according to a Tuesday statement from the county DPH. “Our collective goal is to prevent an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases at health care facilities.”
An interactive dashboard is available that provides comprehensive information on COVID-19 cases, 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/