The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 138 new deaths and 22,422 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported its 52nd death and county officials reported the highest number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since the pandemic began.
Since November 9, average daily deaths have increased by nearly 600%, from 12 to more than 70 per day this week.
To date, Public Health has counted 8,568 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 566,005 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County.
The Santa Clarita Valley has now tallied 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents – 370 more new cases since Tuesday – and 89 deaths, according to the latest Public Health data, which does not yet list 7 of the fatalities reported by Henry Mayo since last week.
To date, 52 COVID patients have died at the local hospital, and the SCV’s death toll now stands at 96 since the pandemic began.
“For everyone who is now facing a future without a loved one or friend who has passed away from COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies and we wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of L.A. County Public Health.
During the last week of November, L.A. County experienced an average of about 5,900 new cases a day. Wednesday’s number is nearly four times that, Public Health officials said in their daily report, even though the new cases number includes a backlog of more than 7,000 test results from a single lab.
Hospitalizations, ICU Cases Surge
Of the 4,656 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized in all areas of the county, 21% of them are in the ICU.
According to the state, the Southern California Region now has 0.5% ICU capacity remaining, well below the 15% threshold that would allow an easing of restrictions and limited reopenings.
As hospital ICU capacity is decreasing to alarming levels and healthcare workers are pushed to the limits, every single person living and working in L.A. County is affected, since everyone depends on essential hospital services when needed.
There are only 2,100 adult ICU beds across county hospitals and many of these beds are essential for patients that need intensive care for other non-COVID illnesses including trauma, cardiac surgeries, serious infections, and cancer treatments.
COVID-19 Vaccine Now in L.A. County, SCV
Initial allocations of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Los Angeles County. As of Wednesday, all nine designated sites received their allotment of the almost 83,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Each of these nine prepositioned sites worked with Public Health and EMS to arrange for the redistribution of vaccines so that every acute care hospital across the county that treats COVID-19 patients receive a pro-rata share of this initial allocation.
Acute care hospitals are beginning or will soon begin the process of administering the vaccinations to their staff at the highest risk of exposure. The first round of COVID-19 vaccines in L.A. County is appropriately going to the heroes in this pandemic – the frontline healthcare workers who have been putting themselves at risk each day to care for others.
In the SCV, a Henry Mayo ICU nurse is scheduled to receive the hospital’s first local vaccination Thursday at noon.
Thursday night at 6, Public Health invites residents to join the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, how it was developed, where it will be distributed in communities, and when it will be made available to the general public.
See more L.A. County updates 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 Wednesday afternoon, December 16, 2020.
Worldwide Deaths Exceed 1.6 Million People; U.S. Leads in New Cases, Deaths
Worldwide, 73,969,003 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 1,644,589 people have died of the virus as of 1:26 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., where new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue breaking records, more than 16,885,623 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. New cases and hospitalizations continue at all-time record highs. The number of people in the U.S. who have died due to the virus has now surpassed 306,363.
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 182,799, and No. 3 in cases with 6,970,034. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases, with 9,932,547 confirmed cases and 144,096 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported its 51st death Tuesday and its 52nd death Wednesday from COVID-19, spokesman Patrick Moody said.
Henry Mayo releases complete statistics weekly, usually on Wednesdays, unless a new death occurs, Moody said.
As of Wednesday, of the 13,926 people tested for COVID-19 at Henry Mayo to date, 1,862 tested positive, 16,787 were negative, 7 were pending, 88 patients were hospitalized in a dedicated unit receiving ICU-level care (11 more than last week), and a total of 517 COVID-19 patients have been treated and discharged so far (10 more since last week), Moody said.
Discrepancies in the testing numbers at the hospital are due to some patients being tested multiple times.
As of 8 p.m. Monday, December 14, the latest update to the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 data dashboard,
89 deaths had been reported among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began.
The data dashboard had not yet recorded the most recent deaths from Henry Mayo, including Wednesday’s fatality, which brings the SCV death toll to 96 people.
Of the 96 SCV residents who have died, 74 lived in Santa Clarita, 5 in Castaic, 3 in Acton, 3 in Stevenson Ranch, 1 in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon, 2 in unincorporated Canyon Country, 1 in Val Verde, according to the data dashboard, with the 7 additional people who died residing in communities not yet named.
Of the 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:
City of Santa Clarita: 8,723
Castaic: 2,623 (includes Pitchess Detention Center and North County Correctional Facility*)
Stevenson Ranch: 449
Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 368
Val Verde: 143
Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 80
Agua Dulce: 89
Saugus (unincorporated portion): 59
Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 50
Elizabeth Lake: 26
Saugus/Canyon Country: 18
Bouquet Canyon: 16
Lake Hughes: 17
Sand Canyon: 7
San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 4
*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.
A COVID-19 Death Every 30 Minutes in L.A. County
“We have the most difficult road in front of us and the virus is rampant in our neighborhoods,” L.A. County Public Health’s Barbara Ferrer said.
“Every hour, on average, two of our neighbors, family members and friends are dying from COVID-19,” Ferrer said.
“The most important way we get through these hard times is for everyone to stay home as much as possible and only go out for work, exercise or for essential services,” she said. “When you must leave your home, always wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Please cancel holiday plans that involve travel or gathering with friends and family that are not part of your household. Unless we remain more diligent through the holidays – and beyond – we will not be able to stop the surge and provide essential relief to our hospitals and healthcare workers.”
Deaths Increase at Skilled Nursing Facilities
While not at the levels seen early on in the pandemic, L.A. County is experiencing increases in deaths from COVID-19 among residents at skilled nursing facilities. During the week of November 15, 30 residents passed away, and during the week of December 5, 49 residents passed away. For comparison in early May, weekly deaths for residents of skilled nursing facilities reached a high of 191.
More L.A. County Demographics: Age
Of the 138 new deaths reported today, 45 people who died were over the age of 80 years old, 49 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 27 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, nine people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29 years old.
One hundred people who died had underlying health conditions including 37 people over the age of 80 years old, 39 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 20 people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and four people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Seven deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach.
Ninety-three percent of the people who have died from COVID-19 to date had underlying health conditions. 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.
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 10262
* 5 to 11 23444
* 12 to 17 28911
* 18 to 29 133717
* 30 to 49 183794
* 50 to 64 101209
* 65 to 79 38958
* over 80 15210
* Under Investigation 3592
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.
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 Regional Stay Home Order
The Regional Stay Home Order announced December 3 and a supplemental order signed December 6 went into effect at 11:59 p.m. the day after a region had less than 15 percent ICU availability.
The supplemental order clarifies retail operations and goes into effect immediately. They prohibit private gatherings of any size, close sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and require 100% masking and physical distancing in all others.
Once triggered, these orders will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks. After that period, they will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial three-week period.
Based on ICU data, three regions — San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, and Greater Sacramento — remain under the Regional Stay at Home Order. as of Monday, December 14.
San Joaquin Valley and Southern California will be eligible to exit from the order and return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on December 28 if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15%. Greater Sacramento may exit on January 1 if it achieves the same capacity projections.
The state continues to support hospital systems and congregate care facilities across the state during 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 November 29 to December 5, the average time patients waited for test results was 1.4 days. During this same time period, 58 percent of patients received test results in 1 day and 87 percent received them within 2 days. The testing turnaround time dashboard (PDF) is updated weekly.
All four tiers in the Testing Prioritization Guidance originally dated July 14, 2020, will have equal priority for testing.
Overall, for adults 18 and older, Latinos, African Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher levels.
The proportion of COVID-19 deaths in African Americans is more than one-and-a-half times their population representation across all adult age categories. For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, overall numbers are low, but almost double between the proportion of COVID-19 deaths and their population representation.
More males are dying from COVID-19 than females, in line with national trends.
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 7, 145 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide. To protect patient confidentiality in counties with fewer than 11 cases, CDPH 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 is 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.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 256 new deaths and 9,277 new cases of confirmed COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported it's 107th death.
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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 256 new deaths and 9,277 new cases of confirmed COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported it's 107th death.
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