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Los Angeles County Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 92 new deaths and 666 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as officials continue to track highly transmissible variant cases.

To date, Public Health has identified 1,215,736 positive cases of COVID-19 and a total of 22,960 deaths across all areas of L.A. County.

Since the pandemic began, the Santa Clarita Valley has counted 27,065 total COVID-19 cases — 31 more cases than Tuesday — and 287 SCV residents have died of the virus.

“We send our deepest condolences to the friends and families who are grieving today and wish you healing,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of L.A. County Public Health.

There are 719 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, a slight increase, and 25% of them are in the ICU.

Testing results are available for nearly 6,032,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 1.7%, down slightly.

“I want to thank everyone for their commitment to following the safety measures over the last two months,” Ferrer said in her daily update. “These collective efforts made a difference and saved lives. I know there are many reasons to gather coming up, whether it is Passover, Ramadan, March Madness, or you would just like to enjoy the beautiful weather with friends. As we saw in the winter, failing to follow sensible public health directives can have disastrous consequences. I ask each of you to continue keeping yourself, your friends, and your family members safe.”

See more L.A. County information and a vaccine update later in this report.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 california cases

California Wednesday Snapshot

Statewide, as of Tuesday, March 23, California Department of Public Health officials confirmed 3,551,056 COVID-19 cases (up 1,955) with 56,850 deaths from the disease (up 254) since the pandemic began.

There are 2,545 confirmed hospitalizations and 620 ICU hospitalizations in the state, continuing a very slight downward trend.

As of March 23, local health departments have reported 101,094 confirmed positive cases in healthcare workers and 439 deaths statewide.

There have been 52,630,376 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 116,641 during the prior 24-hour reporting period.

The 7-day positivity rate is 1.9%, a slight upward trend.

Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results may include cases from prior to yesterday.

As of March 24, providers have reported administering a total of 15,537,745 vaccine doses statewide.

The CDC reports that 19,809,080 doses have been delivered to entities within the state. Numbers do not represent true day-to-day change as reporting may be delayed.

See more California information later in this report.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

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, March 24, 2021.

U.S. Cases Top 30 Million People; Deaths Near 550,000 People

Worldwide, 124,560,474 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 2,739,777 people have died of the virus as of 3:27 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.S., more than 30,001,245 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 545,053.

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 298,676 — almost half of the U.S. total — and No. 3 in cases with 12,130,019. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 2 in cases with 11,734,058 confirmed infections and No. 4 in deaths with 160,441, behind No. 3 Mexico’s 199,048 deaths, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital recorded its 147th COVID-19 death Monday, spokesman Patrick Moody said.

As of Wednesday, there are no cases pending, seven patients are hospitalized in a dedicated COVID-19 unit receiving ICU-level care, and a total of 1,183 patients have been treated and discharged since the pandemic began, Moody said.

According to Moody, 74 of the COVID-19 fatalities at Henry Mayo occurred in 2020, while 73 people have died so far this year.

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.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday Update

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the latest update of the L.A. County Public Health dashboard recorded 287 deaths among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began, three more than Tuesday. The three new fatalities were people who resided in the city of Santa Clarita.

The following is the community breakdown of the 287 SCV residents who have died, according to the L.A. County dashboard:

* 243 lived in Santa Clarita

* 18 in Castaic

* 7 in Acton

* 4 in Stevenson Ranch

* 3 in Agua Dulce

* 3 in unincorporated Canyon Country

* 2 in Valencia

* 1 in unincorporated Bouquet Canyon

* 1 in Elizabeth Lake

* 1 in Lake Hughes

* 1 in Newhall

* 1 in unincorporated Saugus/Canyon Country

* 1 in Val Verde

covid-19 roundup tuesday march 23

Of the 27,065 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:

* City of Santa Clarita: 19,804

* Castaic: 3,665 (incl. Pitchess Detention Center & North County Correctional Facility*)

* Stevenson Ranch: 1,109

* Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 815

* Acton: 460

* Val Verde: 327

* Agua Dulce: 266

* Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 185

* Saugus (unincorporated portion): 132

* Elizabeth Lake: 75

* Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 67

* Bouquet Canyon: 47

* Lake Hughes: 41

* Saugus/Canyon Country: 39

* Sand Canyon: 17

* San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 15

* 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: 22674

* 5 to 11: 54819

* 12 to 17: 68732

* 18 to 29: 272317

* 30 to 49: 383365

* 50 to 64: 222889

* 65 to 79: 88885

* over 80: 32364

* Under Investigation 6781

L.A. County Demographics — Deaths

Of the 92 new deaths reported today, 39 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 23 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 14 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, five people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29, and one death is under investigation. Tragically, one youth under the age of 18 also passed away. Five deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and three deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.

covid-19 roundup wednesday march 24

Variants and Increased Transmission

Public Health officials continue to track variant cases in L.A. County. Among 73 specimens analyzed at the Public Health Laboratory this past week, 25 cases, or 34% of the specimens analyzed, were the California variant of concern, identified as B.1.427 or 429, and 21 cases, or 29% of the specimens analyzed, were the U.K. variant of concern, B.1.1.7.

This means 63% of the variants sequenced this past week are variants of concern with the probability of increased transmissibility and more severe disease.

L.A. County has yet to identify cases of the South African variant or the Brazilian variant of concern, the P.1 variant.

Other variants of interest that were detected included 8 cases of the New York variant and 1 case of the Brazilian variant of interest P.2. While these variants are still considered only variants of interest (and not variants of concern), their presence indicates transmission of mutated viruses from across the globe.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

L.A. County Vaccine Update: Eligibility & Appointments

Currently, people who are eligible for the vaccine include healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, people who are age 65 or older, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, emergency service workers and law enforcement,  people with certain serious health conditions and disabilities, people who live in group settings, janitorial-custodial-maintenance workers, and transportation and logistics workers.

Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

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)

* Six Flags Magic Mountain, 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia 91355

* 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)

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

Skilled Nursing Facility Update

Since vaccination efforts for skilled nursing facility residents and staff began, L.A. County has seen a dramatic drop in cases among residents and staff. Similar to the experiences of many other groups and communities, skilled nursing facility residents and staff experienced a huge spike during the winter surge. Since then, skilled nursing facility staff cases dropped 97%, with only 9 cases for the week of March 7.

Skilled nursing facility resident cases also dropped significantly, 99%, to only 9 cases as well during the same time period. This trend is similar to health care workers in L.A. County and is excellent evidence that these vaccines are working.

Given the high burden of illness and deaths at our skilled nursing facilities during the pandemic, Public Health has consistently reported on case and death numbers associated with staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. Officials are mindful of the importance of prioritizing vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities to add an additional layer of protection.

As of March 20, 80% of skilled nursing home staff and 79% of residents received their first dose of vaccine; and 76% of skilled nursing home staff and 71% of residents received their second dose.

Progress on Low-Resourced Neighborhoods, People of Color

People living in low-resourced neighborhoods and people of color have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Thankfully, as cases are dropping, the gaps are closing, although Latino/Latinx residents still have the highest case rate at 80 new cases per 100,000 people. Black/African American residents have the second-highest case rate at 56 new cases per 100,000 people, and White residents have a case rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people. Asians have the lowest case rate at 35 new cases per 100,000 people.

The disproportionality across groups is most alarming when assessing rates of death by race and ethnicity. Before the surge began in early November, the death rate among Latinx residents peaked at 10 deaths per 100,000 people in late July. At the peak of the surge, the average number of Latinx residents who passed away each day skyrocketed 600%, to 61 deaths per 100,000 people.

The mortality rate among Black residents was 30 deaths per 100,000. White residents had an average of 26 daily deaths per 100,000 people, and Asian residents had a mortality rate of 20 deaths per 100,000 people.

covid-19 roundup wednesday march 24

Fortunately, each community has seen decreases in deaths, and as of March 12, the death rate for Latinx residents dropped to 8.5 deaths per 100,000 people. However, this rate remains almost three times the mortality rate for Asian, white, and Black residents, at 3 deaths per 100,000 people.

In mid-January, those in the lowest-resourced areas were experiencing an average of 70 deaths each day from COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, more than three times the death rate for those living in higher-income areas at 22 deaths per 100,000 people. As of March 12, the mortality rate among residents in the lowest-resourced areas is 9 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people, which is still three times that for people living the highest-resourced areas, at 3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Gaps in vaccination rates also persist by race and ethnicity. As of March 20, white residents who are 65 or older have the highest vaccination rates with 60% receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Asian residents have the second-highest percentage with 58% of those 65 years and older receiving one dose of vaccine. Almost 54% of American Indian/Alaska Native residents, 50% of Latinx residents, and nearly 45% of Black residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county has partnered with many community partners to close these gaps and officials are relieved to have made progress improving vaccination rates among residents in hard-hit communities. Since February 9, the vaccination rate for Black residents saw the largest increase at 124%. The vaccination rate for Latinx residents increased by 94% and the rate for American Indian/Alaska Native increased by nearly 92%. This compares to increases in vaccination rates for Asian residents at 58% and for white residents at 60%.

L.A. County continues prioritizing vaccinations for those living in hard-hit communities and is grateful to all partners, residents, and workers for their efforts to ensure we are doing a better job vaccinating those most in need. In total, of the 541 vaccination sites across the county this week, 263 are located in the hardest-hit communities.

covid-19 roundup wednesday march 24 2021

The foundation of the county’s equity efforts is rooted in partnerships with community organizations and residents. There are various activities organized and supported by trusted community-based partners, including faith-based and community organizations. These efforts are concentrated in areas most impacted by COVID-19, communities in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and most recently, the Antelope Valley, where case, hospitalization, and death rates are higher and vaccination rates are lower.

Public Health officials are seeing community and faith-based partners make hundreds of calls, pre-register community members for their appointments, helping people get vaccinated in some of the county’s most impacted zip codes. Thousands of residents in hard-hit communities have received much-needed support in getting their appointments and getting to a vaccination site. Officials are grateful for this outpouring of action from these critical community leaders and institutions.

For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

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 weds march 24

With the Regional Stay at Home Order was 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.

The California Department of Public Health modified Blueprint thresholds on March 12 after the state successfully met its first vaccine equity milestone of 2 million administered vaccine doses in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities.

Blueprint tiers are updated weekly on Tuesdays. The Blueprint summary as of March 23:

* 8 counties are currently in the Purple (widespread) Tier

* 39 counties are currently in the Red (substantial) Tier (including Los Angeles County)

* 9 counties are currently in the Orange (moderate) Tier

* 2 counties are in the Yellow (minimal) Tier

The state released updates to the state’s reopening framework on Friday, March 5. The updates will allow outdoor ballparks, stadiums, and theme parks to open with significantly reduced capacity, mandatory masking, and other public health precautions. The updates will take effect on April 1.

Find the status of activities in specific counties.

Updates to Cohort Guidance

CDPH announced changes to the Cohort Guidance. The Cohort Guidance now only applies to counties in the Purple Tier and is frequently referenced for operations at day camps, before and after school programs, and childcare centers.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24

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.

For more information on the vaccine effort, visit the Vaccinate All 58 webpage.

Tracking Variants

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 here on the variants CDPH is currently monitoring.

covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

‘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.

Travel Advisory

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.

covid-19 cases roundup weds march 24 2021

California Testing & Turnaround Time
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 March 7 to March 13, the average time patients waited for test results was one day. During this same time period, 81% of patients received test results in one day and 95% 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.

coronavirus covid-19 roundup weds march 24 2021

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 22, 413 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide, 33 more than the previous week. To protect patient confidentiality in counties with fewer than 11 cases, CDPH officials 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 weds march 24 2021

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.

* Avoiding non-essential travel, and practicing self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival if you leave the state.

* Keeping interactions limited 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.

* Getting tested if you believe you’ve been exposed. Free, confidential testing is available statewide.

* Getting vaccinated when it’s your turn.

* 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 weds march 24 2021

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 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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