The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 258 new deaths and 11,841 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported its 79th fatality since the pandemic began.
Public Health has identified a total of 852,165 positive cases of COVID-19 and 11,328 deaths across all areas of L.A. County. Eighteen of the people whose deaths were reported Wednesday were residents of the city of Long Beach, which has its own Public Health department.
To date, the Santa Clarita Valley has tallied 18,514 COVID-19 cases – 334 more cases since Tuesday – and 134 deaths.
A COVID patient is dying every 10 minutes in L.A. County, officials said.
“For everyone who has lost a friend, a co-worker, a loved one, a neighbor, we sincerely express our condolences. Our prayers are with you and we are very sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of L.A. County Public Health.
There are currently 8,023 people in the hospital with COVID-19 and 20% of those people are in the ICU. On November 1, the three-day average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 791. On January 4, the three-day average increased to 7,873.
Hospitals are accepting more patients than they can discharge, and this is causing a huge strain on our emergency medical system.
“This is a health crisis of epic proportions,” Ferrer said.
‘Disastrous Increase’ in Cases, Hospitalizations, Severity, Deaths
COVID-19 testing results are available for nearly 4,850,000 L.A. County individuals, with 17% of people testing positive. On November 1, the test positivity rate was 3.8%. Wednesday’s test positivity rate increased to 21.8%.
This is very significant because it means one in five people who are tested are carrying the COVID-19 virus and can expose others to this disease.
Public Health continues distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccinations. As of Monday, a total of 185,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were received and 100,556 doses have been administered to our frontline health care workers at our acute care hospitals.
Hospitals have also begun to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and as of Wednesday, 1,602 healthcare workers were fully vaccinated. See more on vaccines later in this report.
The rate of new cases this month is translating into a disastrous increase in the number of people with severe COVID-19 symptoms being sent to our local hospitals and, tragically, we are now seeing more than 200 deaths a day.
“People who were otherwise leading healthy, productive lives are now dying because of a chance encounter with the COVID-19 virus,” Ferrer said. “This only ends when we each make the right decisions to protect each other.
“I am more troubled than ever before, and in part, my concern is rooted in the reality that it will take so much more for us to slow the spread given the high rate of community spread,” she said. “We know – and are very appreciative – that so many of you are doing the right thing. We are grateful for your perseverance, diligence, and patience. For the small number of people who either are not getting the message or who are actively choosing to disregard it, we ask that you step up and do the right thing this month.
“In Los Angeles County, we have doubled the number of people passing away each day, and this reality has upended all aspects of our healthcare delivery system,” Ferrer said. “Our tragedy continues until we get it together to change our actions. Each of us has a choice to make; we can protect and care for each other or we can exacerbate the desperate situation in front of us. I hope we move together to stop the surge.”
See more SCV and L.A. County info later in this report.
California Wednesday Snapshot
Statewide, as of Tuesday, January 5, the California Department of Public Health confirmed a total of 2,482,226 COVID-19 cases (up 29,892), with 27,462 deaths from the disease (up 459) since the pandemic began.
There are 21,922 confirmed hospitalizations and 4,636 ICU hospitalizations in the state, continuing a sharp upward trend.
As of January 5, local health departments have reported 72,263 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 264 deaths statewide.
There have been 34,548,621 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 217,837 over the prior 24-hour reporting period.
The 7-day positivity rate is 13.7% and the 14-day positivity rate is 12.7%.
Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results may include cases from prior to yesterday.
As of January 5, a total of 530,376 vaccine doses have been administered statewide. As of January 4, a total of 2,007,600 vaccine doses, which includes the first and second dose, have been shipped to local health departments and health care systems that have facilities in multiple counties.
Updated California Travel Advisory
The California Department of Public Health has issued an updated travel advisory. Except in connection with essential travel, Californians should avoid non-essential travel to any part of California more than 120 miles from one’s place of residence, or to other states or countries.
Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains will be introduced to California.
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.
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 Wednesday afternoon, January 6, 2021.
U.S. Infections Surge Past 21 Million People; Deaths Reach 360,000
Worldwide, 86,914,597 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 1,877,219 people have died of the virus as of 1:22 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., more than 21,213,347 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 359,784.
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 197,732, and No. 3 in cases with 7,810,400. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases, with 10,374,932 confirmed infections and 150,114 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update
On Wednesday, Henry Mayo New Hall Hospital reported its 79th death since the pandemic began, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody.
In the month of November, 8 COVID-19 patients died at Henry Mayo. In December, four times that many people — 34 — died at the hospital, Moody said, an average of more than one death per day. In 2021, as of Wednesday, January 6, there have been seven deaths so far at Henry Mayo.
As of Wednesday, of the 15,866 people tested for COVID-19 at Henry Mayo to date, 2,727 tested positive, 18,794 were negative, 14 were pending, 99 patients were hospitalized in dedicated units receiving ICU-level care (11 more than last Wednesday), and a total of 754 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, December 30 issued a “code triage” alert and put out a call for nurses and doctors to fill open staff positions.
Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday Update
As of 8 p.m. Monday, the latest update of the L.A. County Public Health dashboard reported 129 deaths among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began, but had not yet included the last 5 deaths reported by Henry Mayo.
Of the 134 SCV residents who have died, 111 lived in Santa Clarita, 6 in Castaic, 4 in Acton, 3 in unincorporated Canyon Country, 3 in Stevenson Ranch, 1 in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon, 1 in Val Verde, and 4 in communities not yet named.
Of the 18,514 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:
* City of Santa Clarita: 13,157
* Castaic: 3,055 (includes Pitchess Detention Center and North County Correctional Facility*)
* Stevenson Ranch: 686
* Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 540
* Acton: 303
* Val Verde: 206
* Agua Dulce: 150
* Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 114
* Saugus (unincorporated portion): 99
* Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 57
* Elizabeth Lake: 45
* Saugus/Canyon Country: 28
* Bouquet Canyon: 29
* Lake Hughes: 26
* Sand Canyon: 10
* San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 9
*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
L.A. County Public Health continues distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccinations. As of Monday, a total of 185,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were received and 100,556 doses have been administered to our frontline health care workers at our acute care hospitals. Hospitals have also begun to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and as of Wednesday, 1,602 healthcare workers were fully vaccinated.
The county received 166,300 Moderna doses as of Monday, of which 31,915 have been administered to staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities to EMTs and paramedics, and to healthcare workers in clinics. This includes healthcare workers at urgent care and primary care clinics, at intermediate and home healthcare facilities and services, as well as healthcare field workers who face a high risk of exposure.
Now, after the holidays, the pace of vaccinations is picking up as we expand the number of people qualified to administer vaccines, and open additional locations to administer vaccines to priority group healthcare workers who don’t work at acute care hospitals.
This week, there are 18 vaccination sites open across the county for frontline healthcare workers with appointments.
In addition to the 18 vaccination sites, next week Public Health will add an additional six to eight vaccination sites for healthcare workers in Tiers 1 and 2 if we receive enough vaccine in our allocations next week.
Public Health is also working with pharmacies to utilize their staffs to administer vaccines to priority groups. Efforts continue with our teams and our partners at Curative to vaccinate both staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities.
As of Monday, an estimated 11,680 staff and residents have been vaccinated at skilled nursing facilities. The federal pharmacy program should begin vaccinating staff and residents at long-term care facilities next week. The county is committed to ensuring the safety, efficiency, and equitable distribution of these important vaccines.
Currently, appointments at the 18 vaccination sites are being accepted only for healthcare workers at high or medium risk of COVID-19 exposure who work in specific settings.
Martin Reyes, RN for the Intensive Care Unit at LAC+USC Medical Center, receives a COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 18 as part of L.A. County Health Services’ effort to vaccinate more than 10,000 frontline healthcare workers by the end of 2020.
These settings include acute care hospitals; federally qualified health centers; home healthcare organizations; infusion and oncology centers; intermediate care facilities; residential or inpatient substance abuse and mental health facilities; urgent care clinics; primary care clinics, rural health centers, and correctional facility clinics.
“We understand there are a lot of people interested in getting vaccinated,” Public Health officials said in a statement. “However, we must proceed with administering vaccinations within the priority groups identified by the CDC with additional guidance provided by the state. We understand that some people may feel they should be or are in these priority groups. However, there are clear definitions that we have posted on our website – these are very specific groups according to the priority tiers.”
The county is in Phase 1A and making sure that frontline healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities are all offered vaccines. Healthcare workers are prioritized since they need this protection to stay healthy and be able to care for everyone. And medically fragile residents at long-term care facilities need early access to vaccines to prevent the very high mortality rates experienced by residents in these facilities. Vaccinating these priority groups should go through January.
We hope to begin vaccinating priority groups in Phase 1B in early February, assuming adequate supply of vaccine. The state has identified two tiers in Phase 1B.
Tier 1 in Phase 1B includes individuals 75 and older, and those at risk of exposure in education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture; Tier 2 in Phase 1B includes persons between the ages of 65 and 74, those at risk of exposure if you work in transportation and logistics; in industrial, commercial and residential and sheltering facilities and services; in critical manufacturing; and congregate settings with outbreak risk including homeless and incarcerated.
For Phase 1B Public Health is planning for eligible priority groups to be able to go to registered primary care providers, pharmacy partners, or community vaccination sites. And officials hope they are able to move to Phase 1C, assuming an adequate supply of vaccine, by late March, early April.
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.
L.A. County Demographics — 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: 15616
* 5 to 11: 37440
* 12 to 17: 46369
* 18 to 29: 195378
* 30 to 49: 273279
* 50 to 64: 153639
* 65 to 79: 59793
* over 80: 22195
* Under Investigation 5343
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.
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%.
ICU capacity projections for regions that are eligible to exit the order are calculated daily based on four factors: current estimated regional ICU capacity available, the measure of current community transmission, current regional case rates, and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted. Decreasing community transmission and increasing the health system capacity can help a region’s projected ICU capacity so they can exit the order.
Current available ICU capacity by region as of Wednesday:
* Bay Area: 7.4%
* Greater Sacramento Region: 11.1%
* Northern California: 24%
* 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; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
* Southern California: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
* Greater Sacramento: Remains under order; four-week ICU capacity projections do not meet criteria to exit order.
* Bay Area: Will remain under the order until January 8 at the earliest with the potential to extend depending on four-week ICU capacity projections.
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 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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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 January 4, 161 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.
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.
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 regular meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District's Governing Board will take place Wednesday, Dec. 7, beginning with a closed session at 5:45 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7 p.m.
Four years ago, against all odds, I became the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County. And as Sheriff, I promised that I would Reform, Rebuild and Restore the greatest and largest Sheriff’s Department in the nation. Four years later, I am proud to say that with the support of the sworn and professional staff, together we were able to meet challenges head on, and deliver on that promise.
The regular meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District's Governing Board will take place Wednesday, Dec. 7, beginning with a closed session at 5:45 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7 p.m.
Following the recent decision by the Japanese government to allow the return of international cruise ships to the country, Princess Cruises has announced it will begin homeport sailing in Japan starting March 15, 2023.
The weather is cooler, holiday lights are shining and the New Year is just around the corner. This is a special time of year to reconnect with family and friends, and there are many opportunities for holiday celebrations right here in Santa Clarita.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit are asking for the public’s help locating an At-Risk, Missing Person, Trent Michael Boser. He is a 47-year-old male white adult who was last seen on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 at 12:21 a.m., near the 31000 block of Ridge Route Road, in the city of Castaic.
What a difference healthy bodies make. After being decimated with the flu in the last two games, The Master's University's men's basketball team got healthy in a big way defeating Westmont 71-60 Wednesday night Nov. 30 in The MacArthur Center.
Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector Keith Knox reminds property owners that the first installment of the 2022-23 Annual Secured Property Taxes becomes delinquent if not received by 5 p.m. Pacific Time or United States Postal Service (USPS) postmarked on or before Monday, Dec. 12. This is two days later than the traditional delinquency date of Dec. 10, as this date falls on a Saturday in 2022.
Lead singer Peter Noone is a multi-talented entertainer, who has been delighting audiences nearly all his life. At the age of 15, Noone achieved international fame as “Herman’s Hermits”, lead singer of the legendary 1960's pop band Herman’s Hermits.
The Los Angeles County Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
College of the Canyons sophomore Lauryn Bailey has been named a California Community College Soccer Coaches Association All-State and All-SoCal Region First-Team selection in addition to earning Western State Conference, South Division Offensive Player of the Year honors, leading a class of 11 Lady Cougars that earned postseason awards.
College of the Canyons is headed back to the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship tournament for a second straight year, and the fifth time in program history, after upsetting No. 2 Irvine Valley College 3-1 on Saturday. Set scores were 25-17, 25-22, 15-25, 28-26.
Snow days return to the southland as Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation reprises its popular Parks After Dark Winter Wonderland festivities at 34 L.A. County parks, including Val Verde Park, over three weekends in December.