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January 20
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
Dee Dee Myers


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 274 new deaths and 10,392 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported its 72nd COVID death.

L.A. County surpassed the tragic milestone of 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, reporting 10,056 fatalities.

The Santa Clarita Valley has now tallied 16,542 COVID-19 cases – 173 cases more than reported Tuesday – and 120 deaths since the pandemic began.

To date, Public Health officials have identified 756,116 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County.

The number of new fatalities reported in the county Wednesday surpasses Tuesday’s all-time high.

Wednesday’s number of deaths also reflects a significant number of deaths from the backlog associated with the Spectrum outage and holiday reporting delays. Officials anticipate confirming additional deaths due to the backlog of death reports over the next two days.

“To everyone who is mourning a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or a neighbor who has passed away from COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies and keep you in our thoughts every day,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.

coronavirus covid 19 roundup wednesday december 30

‘Staggering’ Tenfold Increase in New Cases; Record Hospitalizations

Two months ago, L.A. County reported around 1,200 new cases a day. This past week, the county averaged 13,000 new cases each day. This represents a tenfold increase in daily cases in just two months – a number Public Health officials called “staggering.”

Public Health again reported the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic began. There are 7,415 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, and 20% of them are in the ICU.

This is an increase of more than 500 people reported in the last two days.

When L.A. County experienced the summer surge, cases did not reach above 3,000 a day and that kept the increases in hospitalizations and deaths at a relatively smaller curve. However, now with daily cases at or above 13,000, the number of daily hospitalizations and deaths are increasing at much faster rates.

Given that cases remain at a very high number, officials can, with a high degree of certainty, predict continued increases in the number of people hospitalized and dying, creating more worry and heartache for so many.

covid-19 roundup wednesay dec 30

Travel, Gatherings Behind Surge, and Expected January Surge

COVID-19 testing results are available for nearly 4,670,000 L.A. County individuals, with 15% of people testing positive.

The county’s daily test positivity rate has increased significantly and as of Wednesday is 9.2%. 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.

“Unfortunately, given the amount of travel and holiday intermingling that may be happening over this winter holiday, we all need to be prepared for another surge that will start with even higher case numbers in January,” Ferrer said.

“I want to again urge everyone recently returning or coming to Los Angeles County from outside the greater Southern California region – whether you just went to visit family in another state or took a trip north of here – to quarantine at home for a minimum of 10 days,” she said. “This is required for everyone who traveled for leisure or recreation.”

See more SCV and L.A. County info later in this report.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 california cases

California Wednesday Snapshot: First UK Variant

California Public Health has been notified by San Diego County Public Health Services of a patient with the variant COVID-19 virus strain originally detected in the United Kingdom.

This is the first identification of the United Kingdom variant strain, sometimes called strain B.1.1.7 or VOC 202012/01, in California.

The affected individual has no known travel history. Information about possible sources of infection is still being collected.

Early data suggest that the United Kingdom variant strain may be more contagious but does not appear to be more severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 vaccines should provide immunity to this strain.

“The detection of the first case of this United Kingdom variant strain in California is concerning,” said California Health & Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly.

“As we learn more about how this patient contracted this strain, I want to stress the importance of continuing our mitigation efforts to prevent COVID-19 and this new strain,” Ghaly said. “This includes masks, physical distance, and during this current surge in California, staying at home and not mixing outside households, and not traveling.”

Two other cases have been reported in Colorado. It is likely that additional cases will be identified in the United States and in California.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

Statewide, as of Tuesday, December 29, the California Department of Public Health confirmed a total of 2,218,142 COVID-19 cases (up 30,921), with 24,958 deaths from the disease (up 432) since the pandemic began.

There are 20,612 confirmed hospitalizations and 4,389 ICU hospitalizations in the state, continuing a sharp upward trend.

The 7-day positivity rate is 11.8% and the 14-day positivity rate is 12%, flattening.

As of December 29, local health departments have reported 68,495 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 256 deaths statewide.

There have been 32,623,076 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 248,605 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.

ovid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 us cases

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 30, 2020.

U.S. Infections Near 20 Million People; Deaths Near 350,000

Worldwide, 82,456,204 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 1,799,493 people have died of the virus as of 12:22 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.S., more than 19,653,653 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 341,059.

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 192,681, and No. 3 in cases with 7,563,551. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases, with 10,244,852 confirmed infections and 148,439 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

covid-19 roundup wednesday december 30

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported three new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, another fatality Tuesday, and another death on Wednesday, bringing the hospital’s total to date to 72, spokesman Patrick Moody said.

In the month of November, 8 COVID-19 patients died at Henry Mayo. In December, as of Wednesday, Dec. 30, 34 people have died at the hospital, Moody said — an average of more than one death per day.

Privacy laws prohibit the hospital from releasing the community of residence for patients who die there; that info is reported by the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, which generally lags 48 hours behind.

As of Wednesday, of the 15,270 people tested for COVID-19 at Henry Mayo to date, 2,464 tested positive, 18,152 were negative, 9 were pending, 88 patients were hospitalized in dedicated units receiving ICU-level care (two fewer than Tuesday), and a total of 672 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.

Due to staffing shortages and a large number of COVID-19 patient admissions, Henry Mayo on Monday issued a “code triage” alert and put out a call for nurses and doctors to fill open staff positions.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday Update

As of 8 p.m. Monday, December 28, the latest update to the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 data dashboard, 118 deaths had been reported among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began, but did not yet include the 2 deaths Henry Mayo reported Tuesday and Wednesday.

Of the 120 SCV residents who have died, 100 lived in Santa Clarita, 6 in Castaic, 4 in Acton, 3 in Stevenson Ranch, 3 in unincorporated Canyon Country, 1 in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon, 1 in Val Verde, and 2 in communities not yet named.

Of the 16,542 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:

* City of Santa Clarita: 11,615

* Castaic: 2,907 (includes Pitchess Detention Center and North County Correctional Facility*)

* Stevenson Ranch: 600

* Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 481

* Acton: 265

* Val Verde: 178

* Agua Dulce: 131

* Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 98

* Saugus (unincorporated portion): 88

* Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 53

* Elizabeth Lake: 39

* Saugus/Canyon Country: 26

* Bouquet Canyon: 24

* Lake Hughes: 22

* Sand Canyon: 9

* San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 6

*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 CDC provides guidance for the allocation of vaccines and the state health department reviews and finalizes these recommendations for us to follow at the county level. The county is implementing a system that builds vaccination capacity throughout the county. This includes relying on private and public healthcare partners and establishing sites where frontline healthcare workers identified in Phase 1A can be vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, a total of 78,022 frontline healthcare workers in acute care hospitals had received their first doses.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

About 57% of the county’s Pfizer allocation (not including the doses received this week) has been used.

With the Moderna vaccine, which arrived on December 21, a total of 1,398 EMTs and paramedics were vaccinated, and by the end of the weekend, 3,189 doses had been administered to staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. Teams for the county and city, and their Curative partners, are working together to accelerate vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities.

Public Health is beginning to plan for vaccinating healthcare workers in Tier 2. Home healthcare workers and healthcare workers at primary care clinics, urgent care clinics, and private practices, can begin to register for appointments.

The COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Information Hub is operational, where you can get more details on how to sign up for a vaccination appointment and what information is required.

More L.A. County Demographics: Age

Of the 274 new deaths reported today, 95 people who died were over the age of 80 years old, 99 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 44 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, 11 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.

Twenty-two deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach, and two deaths 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: 13917

* 5 to 11: 32670

* 12 to 17: 40375

* 18 to 29: 174748

* 30 to 49: 243261

* 50 to 64: 136258

* 65 to 79: 52677

* over 80: 19794

* Under Investigation 4810

covid-19 roundup friday december 18More L.A. County Demographics: Race/Ethnicity

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, certain groups are again bearing a greater burden of serious illness and death than others from COVID-19.

Latino/Latinx residents are now experiencing a 14-day cumulative rate of 1,695 new cases per 100,000 people. That is an increase of 743% since the surge began on November 1.

The rate for Latino/Latinx residents is more than twice that of African American/Black residents, the group with the second-highest case rate of about 752 cases per 100,000 per day. White residents experience 635 cases per 100,000 per day and Asian residents experience 519 cases per 100,000 per day.

As with cases, the gaps in hospitalization rates by race and ethnicity are also widening. Latino/Latinx residents have a hospitalization rate of 80 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, a 627% increase since early November, and 3 times the rate of white residents. The number of African American/Black residents in hospitals is also increasing – to 57 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, a 714% increase since early November, and more than double that of white and Asian residents who currently have a rate of 26 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

With this dramatic increase in hospitalizations, the county is also witnessing a surge in deaths among all races along with a constantly widening gap between the most impacted group – Latino/Latinx residents – and all others.

Since deaths began to rise among Latino/Latinx residents on November 11, the rate went from about 3 deaths per 100,000 people a day to nearly 16 deaths per 100,000 people a day. That is an increase of more than 400%.

The daily death rate among Latino/Latinx residents is twice as high as the rates for African American/Black residents and Asian residents, who experience about 8 deaths per 100,000 people a day from COVID-19.

The rate for white residents is 6 deaths per 100,000 people a day. Daily death rates for American/Black, Asian and white residents have tripled since November.

Public Health officials also continue to see a high mortality rate among people living in areas with the highest levels of poverty, with three times the death rate compared to people living in the lowest levels of poverty.

These gaps continue to highlight the need to provide resources and protection to all workers, and especially those workers – and their families – who are going to work every day.

These are our essential workers who work at our manufacturing and food processing plants, at our grocery stores and retail shops; they include our first responders, those who are keeping our utilities operating and our transit systems running, and the thousands of workers supporting our medical and hospital systems.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

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 Wednesday.

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.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

‘Safe Schools for All’ Plan
On Wednesday, December 30, Governor Newsom released his California’s “Safe Schools for All” plan, California’s framework to support schools to continue operating safely in person and to expand the number of schools safely resuming in-person instruction.

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.

For more information, see the AFL issued Monday, December 28, and the Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines (PDF) issued in June.

covid-19 roundup wednesday december 30

Vaccinate All 58
The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine 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.

For more information, visit the CDPH COVID-19 Vaccine webpage and Vaccinate All 58.

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 Wednesday:

* Bay Area: 7.5%

* Greater Sacramento Region: 17.4%

* Northern California: 31.5%

* San Joaquin Valley: 0.0%

* Southern California: 0.0%

The earliest dates that regions may be eligible to exit are:

* San Joaquin: Remains under order because four-week ICU projections are less than 15%.

* Southern California: Remains under order because four-week ICU projections are less than 15%.

* Greater Sacramento: Will remain under the order until January 1 at the earliest with potential to extend depending on four-week ICU capacity projections.

* Bay Area: Will remain under the order until January 8 at the earliest with potential to extend depending on four-week ICU capacity projections.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 2020

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.

Read the full Regional Stay Home Order and Supplement to the Order, and Frequently Asked Questions.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 2020

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.

Californians can go to covid19.ca.gov to find out where their county falls and what activities are allowable in each county.

California Testing
More than 85 community testing sites offer free, confidential testing: Find a COVID-19 Testing Site.

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/equity/ that tracks California’s health equity measure and data by race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity.

coronavirus covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 2020

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 28, 159 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide, an increase of 2 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.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 2020

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.

* Staying close to home, avoiding non-essential travel, and practicing self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival if you leave the state.

* Keeping interactions to people who live in your household.

* Wearing a cloth face mask when out in public

* 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

* 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

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30

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.

covid-19 roundup wednesday dec 30 2020

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 Statewide COVID-19 Dashboard

* The California COVID-19 Assessment Tool (CalCAT)

* State Cases and Deaths Associated with COVID-19 by Age Group

* COVID-19 Race & Ethnicity Data

* COVID-19 Hospital Data and Case Statistics

* View additional datasets at the California Open Data Portal (including Testing Data, PPE Logistics Data, Hospital Data, Homeless Impact and more)

Consolidated guidance is available on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance webpage.

* * * * *

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

* Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

* California Department of Public Health

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

* Spanish

* World Health Organization

* Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard

L.A. County residents can also call 2-1-1.

* * * * *

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