header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
97°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 28
1987 - Slender-horned spineflower listed in Federal Register as endangered species [story] Slender-horned spineflower


New research suggests that COVID-19 may have been circulating in the Los Angeles area as early as last December — months before the outbreak in officially confirmed U.S. cases began to signal the beginning of a pandemic.

Health officials from China and the World Health Organization began to warn of a mysterious strain of pneumonia afflicting dozens in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, reports that would later be identified as the beginning of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 — which causes the COVID-19 disease — but the official timeline for the virus in the United States would take longer to develop.

While a Washington man became officially diagnosed with the coronavirus in late January after returning from a trip to Wuhan, it would take until February for the first case of suspected local transmission of COVID-19 to be confirmed in the U.S.

By March, the COVID-19 pandemic began ransacking the nation in earnest, with New York surpassing Seattle as the official U.S. outbreak epicenter. States initiated stay-at-home protocols after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began to warn against large social gatherings.

Though this timeline of the coronavirus in the United States has been widely accepted, a new study published Thursday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research suggests the virus may have already been extremely active among L.A. communities well before the official record would suggest.

To uncover these findings, researchers led by Dr. Joann Elmore, professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, examined extensive outpatient medical data from UCLA Health hospitals and clinics beginning in late December 2019.

Elmore said that while other COVID-19 studies have also looked at similar hospital data, the team behind Thursday’s study looked into a broader range of clinical data from UCLA facilities.

“For many diseases, data from the outpatient setting can provide an early warning to emergency departments and hospital intensive care units of what is to come,” Elmore said with the release of the study. “The majority of Covid-19 studies evaluate hospitalization data, but we also looked at the larger outpatient clinic setting, where most patients turn first for medical care when illness and symptoms arise.”

During this process, researchers took a hard look at over 10 million health system and patient visit records for UCLA Health outpatient, emergency department and hospital facilities from December 2019 to February 2020 — months before the sweeping emergency health declarations that began in March.

Researchers then compared this data to comparable information from the same monthly periods going back the last five years to see how these winter months stacked up to previous years.

What they found was that the rate of patients seeking treatment for coughs or other respiratory issues at UCLA facilities increased by 50%.

On top of this drastically increased volume of coughing patients, researchers also observed a significant increase in patients being hospitalized for acute respiratory failure during the same time.

Researchers say these increases that could not be properly explained by changes in patient populations or seasonal factors.

Given our knowledge of Covid-19 and its impact on the human respiratory system, researchers say that the deadly virus responsible for over 190,000 deaths in the United States to date could also have been behind these patient increases.

Researchers warn, however, that these results are not definitive, as there could be a host of other factors that could at least partially explain the surge. Scientists say that the flu, term methodology used to analyze the data or even complications from e-cigarettes and vaping could potentially explain some or all of these figures.

Elmore notes that with all of these variables in place, the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the presence of early, unconfirmed cases may never be fully understood — but that the lessons we’ve learned this past year could prove invaluable for health experts looking to track future pandemics moving forward.

“We may never truly know if these excess patients represented early and undetected COVID-19 cases in our area,” Elmore said. “But the lessons learned from this pandemic, paired with health care analytics that enable real-time surveillance of disease and symptoms, can potentially help us identify and track emerging outbreaks and future epidemics.”

— By Carson McCullough, CNS

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Sep 28, 2020
Daniel Bradley of Newhall Honored as Gold Star Son at White House
Newhall resident Daniel Bradley, a Vietnam veteran and Gold Star son, had the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to attend a reception at the White House Sunday to honor Gold Star families and their loved ones who’ve died in service.
Monday, Sep 28, 2020
Unemployment: Wilk Urges Governor to Hit ‘Start,’ Not ‘Pause’ on EDD
Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, advocating for the thousands of constituents still in the queue waiting for their unemployment benefits, is urging Governor Gavin Newsom to rethink a two-week pause on new EDD claims.
Monday, Sep 28, 2020
Hart District Won’t Reopen Schools in October
William S. Hart Union High School District officials announced Sunday Santa Clarita Valley public junior highs and high schools will not reopen in October, pushing the potential timeline for partial reopening to Nov. 13.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Newhall resident Daniel Bradley, a Vietnam veteran and Gold Star son, had the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to attend a reception at the White House Sunday to honor Gold Star families and their loved ones who’ve died in service.
Daniel Bradley of Newhall Honored as Gold Star Son at White House
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office reports a busy slate of production activity in the Santa Clarita Valley this week, September 28-October 4.
Busy Slate of Productions This Week in SCV
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced the launch of a forum for small business owners -- the Small Business Roundtable.
SCV Chamber to Launch Monthly Roundtable for Small Business Owners
Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, advocating for the thousands of constituents still in the queue waiting for their unemployment benefits, is urging Governor Gavin Newsom to rethink a two-week pause on new EDD claims.
Unemployment: Wilk Urges Governor to Hit ‘Start,’ Not ‘Pause’ on EDD
William S. Hart Union High School District officials announced Sunday Santa Clarita Valley public junior highs and high schools will not reopen in October, pushing the potential timeline for partial reopening to Nov. 13.
Hart District Won’t Reopen Schools in October
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills into law Saturday, strengthening protections for LGBTQ+ Californians.
Newsom Signs Bills Strengthening LGBTQ+ Protections
California Governor Gavin Newsom took action Sunday on several bills that continue the state’s long-standing leadership as a state of inclusion and refuge.
Newsom Acts on Bills to Support California’s Immigrant, Refugee Communities
1987 - Slender-horned spineflower listed in Federal Register as endangered species [story] Slender-horned spineflower
2014 - Towsley Canyon Loop Trail named for naturalist Don Mullally [story]
Don Mullally
1876 - California oil industry born as CSO No. 4 in Pico Canyon becomes state's first commercially productive oil well [story]
Pico No. 4
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday 34 new deaths and 1,401 new cases of COVID-19, with 6,048 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, while Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported its 24th COVID-related death to date.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 24th Death at Henry Mayo; SCV Surpasses 6,000 Total Cases
Air quality in the Santa Clarita Valley will be unhealthy for sensitive groups/individuals Saturday, Sept. 26, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) forecast.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
With temperatures in parts of Los Angeles County expected to rise into the triple digits, various public facilities located throughout the County, including Stevenson Ranch Library, will serve as Emergency Cooling Centers.
Stevenson Ranch Library to Serve as Emergency Cooling Center
The 2020 census is underway and it is your civic duty to participate, but beware of scammers using this opportunity to steal your personal information.
Residents Warned of 2020 Census Scam
The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will hold a virtual study session via Zoom, Thursday, Oct 1, at 4:00 p.m.
Oct. 1: Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission Study Session
Foster youth in Santa Clarita have a new, dedicated place to study and receive homework help and tutoring. The local Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) organization has created The Study Place in response to the transition to online learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
FYI Debuts New ‘Study Place’ for Local Foster Youth to Support Online Learning
As part of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond’s Education to End Hate initiative, California school districts and charter schools have begun applying for mini-grants now available to support educator training in the areas of anti-racism and bias.
Thurmond Announces Mini Grants Available to Provide Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias Educator Training
A crash involving multiple motorcycles Friday afternoon prompted a SigAlert on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in the Stevenson Ranch area, according to first responders.
Multi-Motorycle Crash Prompts SigAlert on SB I-5
With the 2020 SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s quickly approaching on Saturday, October 3, the planning committee and the California Southland Chapter Alzheimer’s Association would like to update everyone regarding the Walk Day events.
Oct. 3: 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Presents Hybrid Event, Drive-By ‘Promise Flower’ Display
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is proud to announce it has received $40,000 from the Walt Disney Company to provide increased access to youth sports, play opportunities and physical activity for kids and families and is launching a new Pop-Up and Play Mobile Recreation Program.
City Receives Funding to Support Youth Sports, Access to Play
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley beginning Sunday, Sept. 27 - Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Heat Alert Issued for SCV Beginning Sunday
Economic development services for arts-oriented small businesses, galleries and more are on the priority list for the 2021 Arts Commission Work Plan, a report Santa Clarita City Council members reviewed Tuesday.
City Council Reviews Priority List for 2021 Arts Commission Work Plan
The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announces that current closure orders and fire prohibitions in California have been extended.
Forest Service Extends Closures at Angeles, Los Padres National Forests
SCV Water's Engineering and Operations Committee is scheduled to meet via teleconference on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 1: SCV Water’s Engineering & Operations Committee Teleconference Meeting
%d bloggers like this: