Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 116 new deaths and 1,759 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported its 144th fatality since the pandemic began.
The Santa Clarita Valley now counts 26,240 total cases — only 28 more than Tuesday — and 269 deaths due to COVID-19 since L.A. County marked its first confirmed case on January 26, 2020.
To date, Public Health identified 1,195,913 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 21,669 deaths.
The seven-day average number of daily deaths continues to decline yet remains far too high. On January 13, the average peaked to 254 daily deaths, and today, as with far too many days during the week, over 100 deaths are reported. In early-November, average daily deaths averaged 14. Public Health officials hope that as hospitalizations decrease, fewer people will die.
“The tragedy so many families have experienced from COVID-19 is overwhelming. We wish everyone mourning a loved one or friend healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.
“The continued high number of people passing away each day is a heartbreaking reminder that this pandemic is far from over and we need to continue our diligence in masking and distancing whenever we are around others.”
There are 1,476 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are in the ICU.
The seven-day average number of cases by episode date has decreased to fewer than 900 cases per day as of February 23 but also remains too high.
As COVID-19 cases decline, the average number of people hospitalized declines, though the county is not back to pre-surge levels. In early November before the surge, there were around 800 daily hospitalizations and daily hospitalizations are now averaging 1,500.
Testing results are available for more than 5,860,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 2.6%, up from 2.5%.
L.A. County is very close to meeting the metric thresholds for the less restrictive red tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safety Economy.
This week, L.A. County’s adjusted case rate dropped to 7.2 new cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 3.5%. Our case rate needs to remain at or below 7 new cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks to move to the less restrictive red tier.
If L.A. County moves into the red tier next week and stays in that tier for two consecutive weeks, schools will then be eligible to reopen in-person learning for students in grades 7 through 12.
See more SCV and L.A. County info and a vaccine update later in this report.
California Wednesday Snapshot
Statewide, as of Tuesday, March 2, California Department of Public Health officials confirmed 3,484,963 COVID-19 cases (up 3,352) with 52,775 deaths from the disease (up 278) since the pandemic began.
There are 4,597 confirmed hospitalizations and 1,335 ICU hospitalizations in the state, continuing a downward trend.
As of March 2, local health departments have reported 96,089 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 400 deaths statewide.
There have been 49,028,048 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 130,858 during the prior 24-hour reporting period.
The 7-day positivity rate is 2.2% and the 14-day positivity rate is 2.6%, flattening.
Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results may include cases from prior to yesterday.
As of March 2, providers have reported administering a total of 9,458,722 vaccine doses statewide. Numbers do not represent true day-to-day change as reporting may be delayed.
The CDC reports that 12,315,750 doses have been delivered to entities within the state, and 12,783,315 vaccine doses, which includes the first and second dose, have been shipped.
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 deaths in the United States as of Wednesday afternoon, March 3, 2021.
U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Near 520,000 People
Worldwide, 115,126,085 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 2,558,943 people have died of the virus as of 4:24 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., more than 28,780,950 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 519,064.
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 259,271 — half of the U.S. total — and No. 3 in cases with 10,718,630. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases, with 11,139,516confirmed infections and No. 4 in deaths with 157,346, behind No. 3 Mexico’s 187,187 deaths, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported one new death on Wednesday due to COVID-19, bringing the hospital’s total COVID-19 fatalities to 144 to date, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody.
As of Wednesday, no cases were pending, 12 patients were hospitalized in a dedicated COVID-19 unit receiving ICU-level care, and a total of 1,157 patients had been treated and discharged, Moody said.
Henry Mayo releases complete statistics weekly, usually on Wednesdays, unless one or more new deaths occur.
Privacy laws prohibit Henry Mayo from releasing the community of residence for patients who die at the hospital; residence info is reported by the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, which generally lags 48 hours behind.
Santa Clarita Valley Monday Update
As of 6 p.m. Monday, the latest update of the L.A. County Public Health dashboard counted 268 deaths among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began, but did not yet include the death Henry Mayo reported Wednesday.
Of the 269 SCV residents who have died, 230 lived in Santa Clarita, 16 in Castaic, seven in Acton, three in Agua Dulce, three in unincorporated Canyon Country, three in Stevenson Ranch, one in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon, one in Lake Hughes, one in Newhall, one in unincorporated Saugus/Canyon Country, one in Val Verde, and one in Valencia.
Of the 26,240 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:
* City of Santa Clarita: 19,172
* Castaic: 3,599 (incl. Pitchess Detention Center & North County Correctional Facility*)
* Stevenson Ranch: 1,059
* Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 792
* Acton: 447
* Val Verde: 309
* Agua Dulce: 254
* Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 181
* Saugus (unincorporated portion): 131
* Elizabeth Lake: 74
* Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 66
* Bouquet Canyon: 44
* Lake Hughes: 40
* Saugus/Canyon Country: 40
* Sand Canyon: 17
* San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 14
* Placerita Canyon: 1
*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 Demographics — Cases by Age Group (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena)
* 0 to 4: 22305
* 5 to 11: 54014
* 12 to 17: 67711
* 18 to 29: 267823
* 30 to 49: 376911
* 50 to 64: 218976
* 65 to 79: 87410
* over 80: 31703
* Under Investigation 6803
L.A. County Demographics — Deaths
Of the 116 new deaths reported Wednesday, 32 people who died were over the age of 80, 39 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 21 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, eight people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29. Thirteen deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and two deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.
L.A. County Vaccine Update
In addition to healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and people who are age 65 or older, as of Monday, three additional workers are eligible for the vaccine: education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, and emergency service workers and law enforcement.
While COVID-19 vaccine supply remains very limited, Public Health continues to build an extensive network with pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, health clinics, and community vaccination sites, including seven large-capacity sites:
* Dodger Stadium (operated by the city of Los Angeles)
* California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge 91330
* Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W McKinley Ave, Pomona 91768
* The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood 90305
* L.A. County Office of Education, 12830 Columbia Way, Downey 90242
* California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles 90032 (operated by FEMA)
The state is also transitioning the vaccination effort statewide to be coordinated by BlueShield of California. During and after this transition, Public Health’s website — www.VaccinateLACounty.com — will remain a portal for the latest information about COVID-19 and the vaccine and link people to the statewide appointment registration system.
Variants Update: California Strain Now Widespread in L.A. County
The L.A. County Public Health Lab has tested 679 specimens of the COVID-19 virus countywide to assess the presence of mutations — with more than 400 of these sequences performed since January 1 of this year.
To date, the lab has confirmed a total of 27 cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 U.K. variant and one case of the P.2 Brazil variant in the county. All of the U.K. variant cases have been identified since January 15, and the first case of the P.2 variant from Brazil was identified late last week.
In addition, there have been 239 California variant cases with the vast majority of these cases identified since December 1 of last year.
In the most recent run of 55 specimens in the Public Health Lab, 31 (56%) included the 5-mutations characteristic of the California variant, so this strain continues to be widely circulating in the county.
There have been no cases identified in L.A. County with the South African variant.
Focus on Hard-Hit, Underserved Communities
Los Angeles County continues to work mitigating barriers and increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents and workers in the hardest-hit communities.
Because navigating an online registration system is a major barrier for many people, Public Health is working with a number of community leaders and organizations who are handling the registration process for those who are eligible and are not able to easily use online registration.
In addition, the Public Health Call Center is also able to register people without requiring individuals to go through the online interface. Approximately 3,000 appointments this week at the county-run sites are being filled through these efforts. Many community vaccination partners are also eliminating online registration requirements for their patients, and helping individuals register on-site.
Mobility limitations and transportation are a challenge to many people as well, and Public Health is continuing to send mobile teams, with its partners Curative, to senior residential communities, especially in areas that have had low vaccination rates.
L.A. County is coordinating with rideshare companies to provide additional transportation options for people eligible to be vaccinated. The county is currently distributing 1,500 Uber round-trip rides to public health clinics and community vaccination partners for patients who do not have transportation to and from the vaccination sites to use.
For many residents, needing to provide a government-issued ID is a barrier to being vaccinated, so there are many options for verifying your age, where you live, and where you work when you come to a vaccine appointment that do not require a government-issued ID.
Vaccinations are always free and available to all immigrants. Getting vaccinated doesn’t impact current or future immigration status and doesn’t affect green card eligibility. It is not considered in a public charge test. As a reminder, medical information, including information about vaccinations, is private and not shared with immigration officials.
Schools Reopening Update
Currently, schools throughout L.A. County have reopened for high-needs students and for grades TK through 6.
As of March 1, 1,799 schools are providing on-campus services for high-needs students. This includes more than 96,000 students and over 35,000 staff. Thirty-four school districts and 303 individual private and charter schools are approved for in-person instruction of students in grades TK through 6. Nine school districts and 91 individual private and charter schools are still pending review of the COVID-19 safety plan.
For schools that are already open for in-person instruction for grades TK through 6 and would like to open for grades 7 through 12 once the county moves to the red tier, they will need to update their state COVID-19 safety plan to include grades 7 through 12 and repost it to the school website.
They will need to submit to Public Health a separate notification and Reopening Protocol for each school that will be reopening for these grades or expanding reopening for additional students.
Public Health will contact each school separately to do a site visit and offer technical assistance. For schools that have not yet reopened for grades TK through 6, they will need to submit their COVID-19 safety plan to CDPH and to Public Health for review and approval prior to reopening.
They will also need to submit, to county Public Health, the required completed county school re-opening documents.
While Public Health officials remain vigilant about the potential for outbreaks in schools, as at all other worksites, the data both nationally and here in L.A. County indicate that schools are not high-risk settings in terms of transmission of COVID-19 when, and only when, they are following safety requirements and protocols.
Public Health Ambassador Program
L.A. County Public Health is working in partnership with county school districts to establish the Public Health Ambassador Program for students and parents. This program will actively engage school communities in preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 by empowering students and parents as essential partners in each school’s prevention effort.
For parents, the program offers a one-time 90-minute virtual session that covers proven safety practices for home and in the broader community. Student Ambassadors meet weekly and learn about the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing, social determinants of health, and how the pandemic has impacted some groups more than others.
In the first session with students, they were asked about their experiences over the past year and how COVID-19 affected their lives. They expressed feeling alone and distant, concerned about spreading COVID-19 to family members, the effects of job loss, and mourning the loss of family members.
The responses include:
* “I have become distant with some friends since it is harder to see each other.”
* “I got COVID so it was really scary because I have 3 brothers and 2 of them have asthma, my mom also has it and so do I.”
* “My mental health took a big toll on me and in January my grandfather passed away and because of the situation we can’t hold a memorial for a couple months.”
“This pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for so many, and we have heard young people tell us in their own words how they’re feeling in particularly powerful ways,” Public Health’s Barbara Ferrer said.
“This is why we all must use every tool we have to reduce transmission, to vaccinate our population, and to get to a place where all children can go back to school,” she said. “Our children have been through something that none of us experienced as children, and we owe them all of our support and effort so that they can be as safe as possible as we move toward a more hopeful future.”
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.
California Blueprint for a Safer Economy
Governor 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.
With the Regional Stay at Home Order rescinded statewide as of January 25, all counties are now under the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates and test positivity.
Blueprint summary as of March 2:
* 40 counties are currently in the Purple (widespread) Tier (including Los Angeles County)
* 16 counties are currently in the Red (substantial) Tier
* 2 counties are currently in the Orange (moderate) Tier
Vaccinate All 58
In order to increase the pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution to those at greatest risk, the state is prioritizing individuals 65 and older to receive the vaccine as demand subsides among health care workers. This effort will help to reduce hospitalizations and save lives.
To sign up for a notification when you’re eligible for a vaccine, visit myturn.ca.gov.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process and concluded the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for use in the Western States.
The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington Tuesday evening, making the J&J vaccine the third COVID-19 vaccine supported for use in these states. Initial shipments of the vaccine were received this week.
Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been identified globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. These genetic mutations are expected, and some emerge and then disappear, while others persist or become common.
Most variants do not have a meaningful impact. Public health becomes concerned about a variant when it affects COVID-19 transmission, severity, testing, treatment or vaccine effectiveness. Get more information on the variants CDPH is currently monitoring.
‘Safe Schools for All’ Plan
Governor Newsom launched the Safe Schools for All Hub as a one-stop-shop for information about safe in-person instruction.
For more information on the transparency, accountability, and assistance measures related to California’s Safe Schools for All plan, visit the hub.
California Public Health has issued an updated travel advisory. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California and should adhere to the state’s self-quarantine procedures for 10 days.
California Demographics: 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/equity/ that tracks California’s health equity measure and data by race and ethnicity, age group, and sexual orientation/gender identity.
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 February 14 to February 20, the average time patients waited for test results was 1.1 days. During this same time period, 80% of patients received test results in one day and 94% 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.
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 March 1, 331 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide, 29 more than 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: Your Actions Save Lives
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.
* Adding your phone to the fight by signing up for COVID-19 exposure notifications from CA Notify.
* Answering the call if a contact tracer from the CA COVID Team or local health department tries to connect.
* 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 healthcare provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
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.
The Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors announced the leadership team of the newly formed Probation Oversight Commission who will be tasked to lead efforts to monitor the Probation Department’s progress on systemic reform.
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons will host a virtual Open House on Wednesday, April 28 to help those interested in advancing their careers by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, coordinated by the Department of Arts and Culture, and KCET have joined forces to create a new documentary that explores the value of arts education for the youth, communities, and creative economy of L.A. County.
The Santa Clarita Valley League of Women Voters, partnering with College of the Canyons Center for Civic Engagement and its Engage the Vote Student Action Team, is sponsoring a virtual, “Conversation with Mayor Bill Miranda,” on Monday, April 19, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 57 new deaths and 411 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as the county prepares to expand vaccination eligibility to residents 16 and older on Thursday.
California public health officials this week lifted capacity limits on in-person services at places of worship from the state's reopening scheme, following a handful of Supreme Court decisions in favor of congregants challenging the state’s COVID-19 capacity limits.
The Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday night approved one-time funding of $100,000 for the relocation of Bridge to Home shelter services for people experiencing homelessness, and an additional loan not to exceed $110,000.
California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts, is leasing space at Newhall Crossings in Downtown Newhall to put its students’ artwork on display, officials with the Valencia arts college announced recently.
The Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital expansion plan, following a public hearing with protest from members of a local carpenters union and calls by community members to include a mental health care unit for children.
California Senate Bill 546, a measure to extend the state's "iFoster" cell phones and data program for foster youth, has passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee with unanimous support, according to Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).
College of the Canyons athletic programs returned to campus this week to begin outdoor team strength and conditioning activities, guided by a stringent return-to-campus procedural plan designed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and support staff.
If you watched NASA’s exciting Mars Perseverance rover landing on Feb. 18, you definitely won’t want to miss the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus spring 2021 virtual Star Party on Friday, April 23.
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