The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed 73 new deaths and 13,661 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported three more fatalities, bringing the Valencia hospital’s total to 70.
The Santa Clarita Valley has now tallied 16,117 COVID-19 cases — 494 cases more than reported Saturday — and 118 deaths; the latest Public Health dashboard lists 114 fatalities but does not yet include one of the five deaths reported by Henry Mayo last Thursday or the three new deaths the hospital reported Monday.
Daily deaths have increased by 600% in L.A. County, from an average of 12 deaths per day in early November to an average of 84 deaths per day in mid-December.
Public Health officials estimate there are an additional 432 deaths that reflect the delayed reporting associated with the Spectrum outage and the holiday that are in the final stages of confirming.
To date, officials have identified 733,325 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 9,555 deaths.
“Our hearts go out to everyone who is mourning a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or a neighbor who has passed away from COVID-19. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.
Most Daily Cases, Daily Hospitalizations in County Yet
L.A. County consistently exceeds 13,000 cases a day with some days exceeding 15,000 cases. When the current surge began 58 days ago, the average number of cases on November 1 was about 1,200 cases a day. An average of 9 to 10 people in the county test positive for COVID-19 every minute or, 540 to 600 people test positive every hour. Based on recent trends, a high number of COVID-19 cases will result in increased hospitalizations and, ultimately and tragically, more deaths.
There are 6,914 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, the highest number of hospitalizations in L.A. County since the pandemic began.
Of those patients, 20% are in the ICU.
Since November 9, the average daily hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 has increased more than 670%.
Testing Positivity Rate Quintuples Since Nov. 1
COVID-19 testing results are available for nearly 4,630,000 L.A. County individuals, with 15% of people testing positive.
The county’s daily test positivity rate has increased significantly and as of Monday is 19.2%. The test positivity rate was 3.9% on November 1.
The current positivity rate confirms that COVID-19 is widespread across the county and a very large number of people are capable of transmitting the virus to others. Many infected people are likely to not show symptoms while very capable of infecting others.
“Let’s give our hospitals a fighting chance to handle the flood of COVID-19 patients who are arriving every day,” Ferrer said. “We thank everyone who has and continues to do the right thing to help slow this surge. Reducing the number of new cases is the only way to stop this surge. The urgency to take every preventative measure possible is upon us, otherwise the coronavirus transmission trajectory we see here continues, with its devastating impact on hospitals and people. We ask that you not be a virus spreader; we can’t afford for you to pass on the risk and the virus.”
Holiday Travel & Self-Quarantine; Isolation
For those who traveled outside of L.A. County and recently returned, you may have had exposure to COVID-19. The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people, the virus causes no illness or symptoms.
If you go back to work, go shopping, or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others.
All it takes is one unfortunate encounter with an individual with COVID-19 for you to become infected, and sadly, for you to go on and infect others.
If you were traveling or are planning to travel back into the county, you MUST quarantine for 10 days as required by the L.A. County Public Health Officer Order. If you start to experience any symptoms or have a positive test, the Order requires you to isolate for 10 days and until you are fever-free for 24 hours.
The best way to safely quarantine is to not leave your home or allow any visitors to your home, and to find others who can help you buy groceries and other essential necessities.
If you need help during your self-quarantine, such as finding assistance to help get groceries, there are resources available by calling 211 or visiting the Public Health website.
See more SCV and L.A. County info later in this report.
California Monday Snapshot
California will likely extend stay-at-home orders for some of the hardest-hit regions on Tuesday due to a COVID surge that has pushed hospitals to a breaking point and because many people ignored warnings against travel during the winter holidays.
Statewide, as of Sunday, December 27, the California Department of Public Health confirmed a total of 2,155,976 COVID-19 cases (up 33,170), with 24,284 deaths from the disease (up 64) since the pandemic began.
There are 19,766 confirmed hospitalizations and 4,228 ICU hospitalizations in the state, continuing a sharp upward trend.
The 7-day positivity rate is 11.6% and the 14-day positivity rate is 12.5%.
As of December 27, local health departments have reported 67,573 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 251 deaths statewide.
There have been 32,128,516 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 301,820 over the prior 24-hour reporting period.
Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results may include cases from prior to yesterday.
See more California information later in this report.
Screencap from the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering COVID-19 dashboard, showing COVID cases in the United States as of Monday afternoon, December 28, 2020.
U.S. Cases Near 20 Million, Deaths Near 335,000
In the past week, there have been signs that after weeks of lockdowns and restrictions, deaths and new infections are on a downward trend in Europe and the Americas.
Worldwide, 81,114,788 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 1,770,562 people have died of the virus as of 12:22 p.m. Monday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., more than 19,228,424 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of people in the U.S. who have died due to the virus has now surpassed 334,116.
With 4.25% of the world’s population (328.2 million) and more than 20% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases, the U.S. also continues to lead the world in deaths.
By comparison, Brazil (population 209.5 million) is No. 2 in deaths with 191,139, and No. 3 in cases with 7,484,285. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases, with 10,207,871 confirmed cases and 191,139 deaths as of Monday afternoon.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Monday Update
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported 3 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, bringing the hospital’s total to date to 70, spokesman Patrick Moody said.
In the month of November, 8 COVID-19 patients died at Henry Mayo. In December, as of Dec. 28, 32 people had died at the hospital, Moody said, an average of more than one death per day.
As of Monday, of the 15,070 people tested for COVID-19 at Henry Mayo to date, 2,374 tested positive, 17,937 were negative, 1 was pending, 90 patients were hospitalized in a dedicated unit receiving ICU-level care (an increase of five since Saturday), and a total of 641 COVID-19 patients have been treated and discharged so far, Moody said.
Discrepancies in the testing numbers at the hospital are due to some patients being tested multiple times, he said.
Henry Mayo releases complete statistics weekly, usually on Wednesdays, unless one or more new deaths occur.
Santa Clarita Valley Monday Update
As of 8 p.m. Saturday, December 26, the latest update to the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 data dashboard, 114 deaths had been reported among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began, not including one of the five deaths reported Thursday at Henry Mayo and the three the hospital reported Monday.
Of the 118 SCV residents who have died, 96 lived in Santa Clarita, 6 in Castaic, 3 in Stevenson Ranch, 4 in Acton, 1 in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon, 3 in unincorporated Canyon Country, and 1 in Val Verde, according to the data dashboard, plus 4 in communities not yet named.
Of the 16,117 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:
City of Santa Clarita: 11,282
Castaic: 2,876 (includes Pitchess Detention Center and North County Correctional Facility*)
Stevenson Ranch: 583
Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 471
Val Verde: 174
Agua Dulce: 126
Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 96
Saugus (unincorporated portion): 81
Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 52
Elizabeth Lake: 39
Lake Hughes: 21
Saugus/Canyon Country: 26
Bouquet Canyon: 23
Sand Canyon: 9
San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 5
*Note: The county is unable to break out separate numbers for Castaic and PDC/NCCF because the county uses geotagging software that cannot be changed at this time, according to officials. Click here for the LASD COVID-19 dashboard.
L.A. County Vaccine Update: Who Gets it When
Public Health continues efforts to safely and effectively deliver COVID-19 vaccines and build a system that has the capacity to vaccinate prioritized populations.
The first shipments are being used to vaccinate the frontline healthcare workers at acute care hospitals, EMTs and paramedics, and the staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. These groups are within Tier 1 of Phase 1a. As of last Saturday, a total of 66,628 frontline healthcare workers in acute care hospitals have received their first doses.
The county began distribution of the Moderna vaccine to skilled nursing facilities at the end of last week right before the holiday and continued through the weekend. As of Saturday, 1,748 doses had been administered at skilled nursing facilities. County, city, and curative teams are working together to accelerate vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities over the next two weeks.
Vaccinations at other long-term care facilities will happen through the federal pharmacy partnership with Walgreens and CVS and are likely to begin in early January.
As L.A. County completes Tier 1 of Phase 1A, officials will begin vaccinations for healthcare workers in Tier 2. This week and next, home healthcare workers and healthcare workers at primary care clinics, urgent care clinics, and private practices will be invited to register for appointments through a secure web-based portal.
Every week, as the county receives additional doses of vaccine, additional health care workers in Tiers 2 and 3 of Phase 1A will be offered vaccines. These include healthcare personnel engaging in fieldwork, working at specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental and other oral health clinics, pharmacy staff (not in higher-tier settings), and vaccinators.
For more information about the county’s vaccination plans or to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, go to www.ph.lacounty.gov.
More L.A. County Demographics: Age
Of the 73 new deaths reported today, 26 people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 25 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 12 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, six people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and one person who died was between the ages 18 and 29 years old.
Forty-four people who died had underlying health conditions including 18 people over the age of 80 years old, 16 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, five people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and five people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old.
Hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are the most common underlying health conditions among people hospitalized with COVID-19. Many people have multiple underlying health conditions.
Three deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.
Cases by Age Group (Los Angeles County only — excluding Long Beach and Pasadena)
Young people are continuing to drive the surge of the virus’s community spread with disastrous results for our elderly.
* 0 to 4: 13550
* 5 to 11: 31742
* 12 to 17: 39154
* 18 to 29: 169929
* 30 to 49: 236358
* 50 to 64: 132060
* 65 to 79: 51094
* over 80: 19256
* Under Investigation 4688
More L.A. County Demographics: Race/Ethnicity
As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, the gaps between race and ethnicity groups that the county made progress closing in September continue to widen, particularly for Latino/Latinx residents compared to other groups, though all groups are experiencing increases.
Latino/Latinx residents are now seeing a 7-day cumulative rate of nearly 650 new cases per 100,000 people. This is more than two times that of African American/Black residents, the group with the second-highest case rate of about 270 new cases per 100,000 people, and almost three times the rate experienced by white residents (250 new cases per 100,000 people) and Asian residents (172 new cases per 100,000 people).
Latino/Latinx, African American/Black, and Asian residents are also experiencing an alarming increase in deaths. The death rate among Latino/Latinx residents has increased from 1.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate for African American/Black residents has increased from less than 1 death per 100,000 people to 3 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate among Asian residents has increased from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 3 deaths per 100,000 people.
Public Health continues to see a high mortality rate among people living in areas with the highest levels of poverty, with four times the death rate compared to people living in the lowest levels of poverty.
Throughout the pandemic, the life and death consequences of racism and poverty have played out in devastating ways and they continue to do so. The widening gaps are a stark reminder that many of our essential workers are Black and brown, and many are not able to telework or stay home; many work at jobs with low wages, and live in under-resourced neighborhoods.
During the surge, all our essential workers are taking on increased risks at their jobs because community transmission rates are high. The only way to reduce their risk is for every business to fully implement the safety modifications required by the Health Officer Order; this includes providing appropriate PPE and infection control. Violations at workplaces can be reported anonymously at 888-700-9995.
Every resident needs to protect our essential workers by playing by rules. This means always wear a face covering and keep distance from others, no crowding, frequent handwashing, and limiting all non-essential activities.
Targeted Stay at Home Orders issued by the State
The targeted Stay at Home Orders issued by the California Department of Public Health and adopted by the L.A. County Health Officer have been extended and remain in effect.
These orders will remain in effect as long as hospital ICU capacity remains below the 15% threshold established by the state. These orders prohibit gathering with non-household members, require everyone to stay at home as much as possible, reduce occupancy limits at businesses, and require masking and distancing whenever around others.
The Southern California region’s ICU capacity remains 0% as of Monday.
Outdoor exercise is encouraged as long as you remain distanced and wear a face covering when around others.
The Health Officer Orders also require that all non-essential business and activities cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. A complete list of the current safety modifications can be found online. These orders are in place for your safety and the safety of others – to reduce the potential for virus transmission.
L.A. County Public Health’s Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines
On Monday, December 28, the California Department of Public Health released an All Facilities Letter (AFL) on implementing the Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines issued in June. With the current surge in the pandemic, many hospitals are stretched to capacity.
The guidelines support facilities that are adapting their operations and space, including staff and other resources, to handle the surge as best as possible.
In addition to this support, it’s critical that all facilities are prepared for crisis care, during which times medical professionals may have to make hard choices about allocating treatments.
The state does not determine when a hospital implements crisis care standards: that’s determined by the on the ground conditions, hospital capacity and available resources. The state’s role is to ensure all hospitals have done appropriate planning to make difficult decisions and to help hospitals remain in crisis care mode for as brief a period as possible.
Vaccinate All 58
The COVID-19 shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in California, and additional shipments will continue to arrive throughout this week. The first doses are being administered to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The state is working closely with community partners and stakeholders to help ensure the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably across California.
California Regional Stay Home Order
Due to high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations impacting the health care system, California is under a Limited Stay at Home Order. The order applies to all counties that are currently under the Regional Stay at Home Order and those in Tier One (Purple) of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The Limited Stay at Home Order will expire after the Regional Stay Home Order has been terminated in all regions of the state.
Based on ICU data, four regions, San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area are under the Regional Stay at Home Order as of Friday, Dec. 25.
Regions must remain under the Regional Stay at Home Order for at least three weeks and will be eligible to exit the order and return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy only if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15%.
Current available ICU capacity by region as of Thursday:
* Bay Area: 9.5%
* Greater Sacramento Region: 16.6%
* Northern California: 29.3%
* San Joaquin Valley: 0.0%
* Southern California: 0.0%
The earliest dates that regions may be eligible to exit are:
* San Joaquin: 4-week ICU projections to be announced 12/29
* Southern California: 4-week ICU projections to be announced 12/29
* Greater Sacramento: January 1
* Bay Area: January 8
The state continues to support hospital systems and congregate care facilities across the state as ICU capacity continues to drop. The state is providing staff assistance, personal protective gear, durable medical equipment and supplies, and infection prevention technical assistance.
On Sunday, December 13, CDPH implemented a temporary waiver of nurse-to-patient ratios for intensive care units, step-down units, emergency medical services and medical and surgical units. In addition, more than 300 additional medical staff has been deployed across the state, with more expected before the end of the month.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy imposes risk-based criteria on tightening and loosening COVID-19 allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to assess how any movement affects the trajectory of the disease.
Californians can go to covid19.ca.gov to find out where their county falls and what activities are allowable in each county.
The testing turnaround dashboard reports how long California patients are waiting for COVID-19 test results. California has worked to reduce testing turnaround times in recent weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.
During the week of December 13 to December 19, the average time patients waited for test results was 1.6 days. During this same time period, 51% of patients received test results in one day and 81% received them within two days. The testing turnaround time dashboard (PDF) is updated weekly.
All four tiers in the Testing Prioritization Guidance originally dated July 14, 2020, have equal priority for testing.
California Demographics: New Health Equity Dashboard
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequities in health that are the result of structural racism and poverty, and the disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease among Latinos and African Americans.
As part of its commitment to reduce health inequities and ensure the best outcomes for all Californians, the state has launched a Health Equity Dashboard on www.covid19.ca.gov that tracks California’s health equity measure and data by race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
Each week, the California Department of Public Health updates the number of cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported in the state.
As of December 21, 157 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide, an increase of 5 over the previous week. To protect patient confidentiality in counties with fewer than 11 cases, we are not providing total counts at this time.
MIS-C is a rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 that can damage multiple organ systems. MIS-C can require hospitalization and be life-threatening. Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of MIS-C including fever that does not go away, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling tired. Contact your child’s doctor immediately if your child has these symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment of patients are critical to preventing long-term complications.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic and this summer. If COVID-19 continues to spread at this rate, it could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Protect yourself, family, friends, and community by following these prevention measures:
* Staying home except for essential needs/activities following local and state public health guidelines when patronizing approved businesses. To the extent that sectors are re-opened, Californians may leave their homes to work at, patronize, or otherwise engage with those businesses, establishments or activities.
* Following the limited Stay at Home Order that requires all non-essential work and activities to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier. The order took effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 21, and will remain in effect until 5 a.m. December 21.
* Staying close to home, avoiding non-essential travel, and practicing self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival if you leave the state.
* Keeping gatherings small, short, and outdoors and limiting them to those who live in your household.
* Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
* Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
* Covering a cough or sneeze with your sleeve or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward
* Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
* Staying away from work, school, or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough
* Following guidance from public health officials
What to Do if You Think You’re Sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath), call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken. More than 85 community testing sites also offer free, confidential testing: Find a COVID-19 Testing Site.
It’s important if someone thinks they could be positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results to stay at home and act as if they are positive. This means self-isolating for 10 days and 72 hours after symptoms and fever subside.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should plan on receiving a call from a public health specialist to discuss how to protect themselves and others, find out where they may have been, and who they were in close contact with while infectious.
California COVID-19 Data and Tools
A wide range of data and analysis guides California’s response to COVID-19. The state is making the data and its analytical tools available to researchers, scientists and the public at covid19.ca.gov.
Get ready to get your game on Sunday, March 14, as Soroptimist International of Valencia presents their annual fundraiser to benefit the Soroptimist’s Dream Programs: Live Your Dream and Dream It, Be It.
The Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding regional areas fell under a red flag warning, prompting Southern California Edison to monitor more than 28,000 of its customers for potential power shutoffs through the remainder of the week.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 14,564 new cases and 281 new deaths due to COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported another two new COVID-19 fatalities.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, announced Wednesday he voted against impeaching President Donald Trump while the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors” related to last week’s violent breach at the U.S. Capitol.
President Donald Trump spent his single term touting the exceptionalism of his presidency but the distinction that may well define his legacy happened Wednesday as the House voted to impeach him, again, this time for incitement of insurrection and by a vote of 232–197.
Central Park is set to house two colorful obelisks as a memorial to two of the teenagers who died during the Saugus High School shooting in November 2019, following unanimous approval Tuesday from the Santa Clarita City Council.
Cemex, the international mining company proposing a massive sand and gravel mine on Santa Clarita’s eastern border in Soledad Canyon, is fighting back against a new question raised on the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction in its legal challenge to the federal government’s termination of its mining contracts.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 288 new deaths, including two additional deaths at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, and 11,994 new cases of COVID-19, with 20,338 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
L.A. County Library announced Tuesday that it reached a record-breaking 3,109,225 digital book checkouts via OverDrive in 2020 - a 34 percent increase from 2019 - making it one of the top 15 public library systems worldwide for total annual digital circulation.