ICU Rooms at St Vincent surge hospital


Los Angeles County health officials today announced 29 more deaths from COVID-19 and 694 newly confirmed cases, bringing the county's totals to 1,821 deaths and 37,974 cases.

Ninety-two percent of the people who died had underlying health conditions, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

As of Sunday, 5,816 people -- or 16% of positive cases -- have been hospitalized, officials said. Of the 1,648 people currently hospitalized, 26% are in intensive care and 19% are on ventilators.

Testing capacity continues to increase in the county, with results available for more than 309,000 individuals and 11% of people testing positive.

"More people will be out of their homes now that we are in the early stages of our recovery journey, and this means there will be more chances of coming in contact with asymptomatic people who are infected with COVID-19," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director. "If you have an underlying health condition -- like chronic lung disease, asthma, a serious heart condition, HIV, or another condition that affects your immune system -- it is so important that you continue to do your best to stay home as much as possible, avoid close contact with others, and if you begin to feel sick contact your provider immediately."

Despite the ever-increasing numbers, Ferrer has 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.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county's health services director, said Thursday 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," she said.


Public Health has issued the following guidance for people with mild illness during this time of increased spread:

Stay at home whenever possible and practice social distancing -- keep at least six-feet away from others when you leave your home.

 Wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as possible for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when water is not available. 

 The general public should wear non-medical face coverings when interacting with others while obtaining essential supplies and services.  You should not purchase hospital-grade masks, which are in short supply and desperately needed in hospitals. People can use scarves or other fabric, suggesting that people go online for instructions on how to fashion a homemade mask.

 If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days and until 72 hours after being fever and symptom free. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.

Additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website.

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