Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 53 new deaths and 479 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as the Santa Clarita Valley cases total rose by 12 from Tuesday’s to 27,393 since the pandemic began.
To date, Public Health has identified 1,223,174 positive cases of COVID-19 and a total of 23,340 deaths countywide, 297 of them in the SCV.
“To the friends and families mourning a loved one who passed away from COVID-19, we are sending our love and prayers during your time of grief,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., MPH, MEd, Director of L.A. County Public Health.
Wednesday’s encouraging news is that all of L.A. County’s key metrics are indicating less community transmission, although the rate of decrease in hospitalizations and cases is slowing, according to Public Health officials.
Right now, there are 552 people with COVID-19 now hospitalized, 25% of them in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 6,150,000 people, with 18% of them testing positive.
During February, the daily number of cases dropped 82% from February 1 to February 28. During March, the daily number of cases continued to decrease but dropped only 42% from March 1 to March 30.
There is a similar slowing for hospitalizations as well. During February, the number of daily hospitalizations dropped 70% from February 1 to February 28 with only a 57% drop from March 1 to March 30.
Thankfully, the average number of daily deaths continued to decrease in March compared with February. The daily number of deaths dropped 63% from February 1 to February 28. In March, average daily deaths decreased by 86% from March 1 to March 30.
Officials welcome this trend, as it indicates officials are still seeing declines in the very high number of deaths L.A. County experienced through January and February.
“I want to express how grateful I am to our residents and businesses for following the safety measures,” Ferrer said in her daily update for Wednesday. “We are now more than three weeks out from when we moved to the red tier, and we have not yet seen any increases in our case rates, test positivity rate, or hospitalizations.
“This is only possible because of our collective commitment to each other,” she said. “Please continue keeping yourself, your friends, and your families safe. With the majority of variants identified in Los Angeles County being variants of concern, it is even more important that we take all precautions during our re-openings to limit increases in community transmission. Wear a mask, distance when around other in public, wash your hands, and make an appointment to get vaccinated when you are eligible.”
Meanwhile, Public Health officials have identified one case of the South African variant, B.1.351, and three cases of the Brazilian P.1 variant, both variants of concern, in L.A. County.
The CDC classified the South African and Brazilian variants as variants of concern because they are potentially associated with increased transmissibility and reduced susceptibility to certain therapeutics.
Although these are the first reported cases of the South African and Brazilian variant in L.A. County, it is likely there are additional undetected/undiagnosed cases.
To date, 33 cases of the Brazilian variant and 10 cases of the South African variant have been reported in California.
Among 70 specimens analyzed at the Public Health Laboratory this past week, 64% of the specimens analyzed were the UK variant of concern, B.1.1.7, and 20% were the California variant of concern identified as B.1.427 or 429.
This means 84% of the variants identified this past week are variants of concern with the probability of increased transmissibility and more severe disease.
Three cases of the New York variant were also detected this week, which is a variant of interest. There were no cases of the Brazilian P.2 variant identified this week.
See more L.A. County information and a vaccine update later in this report.
California Wednesday Snapshot
Statewide, as of Tuesday, April 6, California Department of Public Health officials confirmed 3,586,059 COVID-19 cases (up 2,229) with 58,659 deaths from the disease (up 118) since the pandemic began.
As of April 6, local health departments have reported 103,647 confirmed positive cases in healthcare workers and 445 deaths statewide.
There are 2,021 people in hospitals statewide undergoing treatment for COVID-19, with 478 people in the ICU.
There have been 55,483,634 tests conducted in California, an increase of 106,309 during the prior 24-hour reporting period.
The 7-day test positivity rate is 1.8%.
As of April 7, providers have reported administering a total of 20,641,692 vaccine doses statewide.
The CDC reports that 26,488,830 doses have been delivered to entities within the state.
Numbers do not represent true day-to-day change as reporting may be delayed.
The CDPH has also updated the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework allowing additional activities to resume with modifications to reduce risk.
The updates include gatherings, private events or meetings such as receptions or conferences, and indoor seated live events and performances. The state updates will take effect April 15.
See more California information later in this report.
U.S. Deaths Near 560,000 People on World Health Day
Worldwide, on World Health Day, 132,768,361 people have been infected by COVID-19 while 2,880,566 people have died of the virus since the pandemic began, as of 12:20 p.m. Wednesday Pacific Time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., where CDC officials continue to warn that a fourth wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths appears to be mounting as COVID-19 cases rise in more than two dozen states, more than 30,904,409 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 558,931.
The CDC has also updated public health guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, lifting travel restrictions and testing requirements while recommending continued mask-wearing and social distancing.
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 cases with 13,100,580 and No. 2 in deaths with 336,947 — almost half of the U.S. total. India (population 1.353 billion) is No. 3 in cases with 12,801,785 confirmed infections and No. 4 in deaths with 166,177, behind No. 3 Mexico’s 205,002 deaths, as of Wednesday afternoon.
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, April 7, 2021.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Wednesday Update
Tuesday’s numbers were the same Wednesday: no cases pending, three patients were hospitalized in a dedicated COVID-19 unit receiving ICU-level care, and a total of 1,197 patients had been treated and discharged since the pandemic began, according to Patrick Moody, spokesman for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
There were no additional deaths, keeping the total deaths at 147 people to date. The most recent death was March 21. In 2020, 74 people died at the hospital of COVID-19. In 2021, the number stands at 73.
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.
Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday Update
As of 6 p.m. Monday, the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard again recorded 297 deaths among Santa Clarita Valley residents since the pandemic began.
The following is the community breakdown of the 297 SCV residents who have died, according to the dashboard:
* 256 lived in Santa Clarita
* 17 in Castaic
* 6 in Acton
* 5 in Stevenson Ranch
* 3 in Agua Dulce
* 3 in unincorporated Canyon Country
* 1 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
Of the 27,393 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:
* City of Santa Clarita: 20,052
* Castaic: 3,697 (incl. Pitchess Detention Center & North County Correctional Facility*)
* Stevenson Ranch: 1,125
* Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 829
* Acton: 463
* Val Verde: 335
* Agua Dulce: 273
* Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 188
* Saugus (unincorporated portion): 128
* Elizabeth Lake: 76
* Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 68
* Bouquet Canyon: 47
* Lake Hughes: 41
* Saugus/Canyon Country: 38
* 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: 28899
* 5 to 11: 55146
* 12 to 17: 69159
* 18 to 29: 274257
* 30 to 49: 385621
* 50 to 64: 224091
* 65 to 79: 89293
* over 80: 32516
* Under Investigation 692
L.A. County Demographics — Deaths by Age Group (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena)
Of the 53 new deaths reported Wednesday, 21 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 14 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 12 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. Three deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and one death was reported by the City of Pasadena.
L.A. County Vaccine Update
Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanded April 1 to all residents 50 through 64 years old in addition to all other eligible groups. On April 15, vaccines become available to any resident in Los Angeles County 16 years of age and older.
While COVID-19 vaccine supply remains very limited, Public Health continues to build an extensive network with pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, health clinics, and community vaccination sites, including seven large-capacity sites:
* Dodger Stadium (operated by the city of Los Angeles)
* California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge 91330
* Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W McKinley Ave, Pomona 91768
* The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood 90305
* L.A. County Office of Education, 12830 Columbia Way, Downey 90242
* California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles 90032 (operated by FEMA)
For information about who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in L.A. County, how to make an appointment if it is your turn, what verifications you will need to show at your vaccination appointment, and much more, visit www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).
Cases, Deaths Update — Races/Ethnicities
Public Health officials continue to track data that show how different races and ethnicities and those living in lower-resourced areas are experiencing COVID-19. Thankfully, gaps are closing.
The daily case rate for white residents is 50 cases a day per 100,000 people. For Black/African American residents, the rate is 52 cases per 100,000 people. And for Latino/Latinx residents, the rate is 56 cases per 100,000 people. Asian residents have the lowest case rate at 24 cases per 100,000 people.
The disproportionality across groups played out in devastating ways when we look at rates of death by race and ethnicity, and while there are declines for all groups, the Latinx community continues to see the most tragedy and loss.
When the surge began in early November, the average number of Latinx residents who passed away each day was 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people and then sharply increased to 59 deaths per 100,000 people in mid-January. As of March 26, the mortality rate among Latinx residents declined to 4 deaths per 100,000 people, yet still remains two and half times more than the mortality rate for white residents and higher than the mortality rate for all other groups.
Since mid-January, the mortality rate among Black residents decreased from nearly 29 deaths per 100,000 Black residents to less than 2 deaths per 100,000 Black residents. Deaths among Asian residents have declined since the peak from 26 deaths per 100,000 Asian residents to 1.5 deaths per 100,000 Asian residents in late March.
Vaccination Update — Hardest-Hit Communities
As of March 26, the mortality rate among residents in the lowest resourced areas is down significantly to just 4.5 daily deaths per 100,000 people but is still three times higher than the mortality rate for people living in the highest resourced areas, which has dropped to 1.5 daily deaths per 100,000 people.
From January 2020 to date, 7,011 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County tested positive for COVID-19 and 202 people who were experiencing homelessness passed away from COVID-19.
Similar to the overall trend in L.A. County, COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness have declined significantly from the peak of 652 weekly cases during late December to fewer than six new cases reported last week. The number of deaths per week from COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness peaked at 19 deaths in late December and have declined significantly to 1 death last week.
Vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness began in February 2021. Since then, dozens of providers across the county have administered 11,483 COVID-19 vaccine doses to people experiencing homelessness.
To lower barriers to vaccination, the county is employing both traditional clinic-based vaccination models and heavily relying on mobile teams to bring vaccines to people experiencing homelessness where they are, including shelters, encampments, churches, and access centers. People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable and we are thankful to the many partners committed to continuing and expanding these efforts.
Vehicles line up at a mass vaccination site opened by the Biden administration at California State University, Los Angeles. | Photo: Nathan Solis / Courthouse News.
Public Health officials remain committed to increasing the number of vaccination sites in the hardest-hit communities in L.A. County. Similar to efforts for vaccinating people in hard-hit communities, the county deploys mobile vaccination teams to congregate senior housing facilities where many homebound individuals live.
The county is partnering with programs such as Meals on Wheels and other home-delivered meal programs, community-based organizations, hospice agencies, the Los Angeles County Department Of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, and the city of L.A. Department of Aging to identify homebound individuals in need of vaccination.
Local fire departments and the county’s Sheriff’s Department are critical partners in this effort. To date, 15 local fire departments have partnered with the county to vaccinate homebound residents, and we expect more in the coming weeks.
While gaps in vaccination rates persist by race and ethnicity for residents 65 and older, since February, Black residents 65 and older have seen the largest increase in vaccination rates at 145%.
L.A. County is also seeing large increases in the vaccination rate for Latinx residents, which increased by 114% from February 9 to April 2. Over this time period, the rate for American Indian/Alaska Native increased by nearly 110%.
These increases translate into more protection for all with just about 50% or more of people 65 and older vaccinated across each race/ethnic group.
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.
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 April 6:
* 2 counties are currently in the Purple (widespread) Tier
* 22 counties are currently in the Red (substantial) Tier
* 32 counties are currently in the Orange (moderate) Tier (including Los Angeles County)
* 2 counties are in the Yellow (minimal) Tier
As of April 1, the state’s reopening framework allowed outdoor ballparks, stadiums, and theme parks to open with significantly reduced capacity, mandatory masking, and other public health precautions.
California has updated its Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports Guidance related to spectators and observers, and inter-team competitions, meets, and races.
Spectators and observers for indoor sports are limited to observation of youth sports (age 18 years and under) and are further limited to immediate household members for the strict purpose of age-appropriate supervision.
This prohibition shall remain in effect until such time as Indoor Seated Live Events and Performance Guidance is posted and becomes effective.
Inter-team competitions, meets, races, or similar events are permitted to occur only with other teams within the state.
Vaccinate All 58 Eligibility Update
With the supply of vaccines expected to significantly increase in the coming weeks, the state is expanding vaccine eligibility to more Californians.
As of April 1, individuals aged 50+ are eligible to make an appointment, and individuals 16+ will be eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated starting on April 15.
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 Vaccinate All 58.
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.
‘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 Updated
California Public Health California updated its travel advisory on April 2, removing the previous recommendation that Californians not travel more than 120 miles from ones’ place of residence.
Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, and Californians should continue to avoid non-essential travel outside of the state.
Non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California and should follow CDC travel guidance related to testing and self-quarantine.
Non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California and should adhere to the state’s self-quarantine procedures for 10 days.
California Demographics: Health Equity Dashboard
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequities in health that are the result of structural racism and poverty, and the disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease among Latinos and African Americans.
As part of its commitment to reduce health inequities and ensure the best outcomes for all Californians, the state has launched a Health Equity Dashboard on www.covid19.ca.gov/equity/ that tracks California’s health equity measure and data by race and ethnicity, age group, and sexual orientation/gender identity.
The testing turnaround dashboard reports how long California patients are waiting for COVID-19 test results. California has worked to reduce testing turnaround times in recent weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.
During the week of March 21 to March 27, the average time patients waited for test results was just under one day. During this same time period, 83% of patients received test results in one day and 98% received them within two days. The testing turnaround time dashboard (PDF) is updated weekly.
All four tiers in the Testing Prioritization Guidance originally dated July 14, 2020, have equal priority for testing.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
Each week, the California Department of Public Health updates the number of cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported in the state.
As of April 6, 448 cases of MIS-C have been reported statewide, five more than last 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.
Protect Yourself and Your Family: Your Actions Save Lives
Protect yourself, family, friends, and community by following these prevention measures:
* Staying home except for essential needs/activities following local and state public health guidelines when patronizing approved businesses. To the extent that sectors are re-opened, Californians may leave their homes to work at, patronize, or otherwise engage with those businesses, establishments or activities.
* Adding your phone to the fight by signing up for COVID-19 exposure notifications from CA Notify.
* Answering the call if a contact tracer from the CA COVID Team or local health department tries to connect.
* Following guidance from public health officials.
What to Do if You Think You’re Sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath), call your healthcare provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
It’s important if someone thinks they could be positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results to stay at home and act as if they are positive. This means self-isolating for 10 days and 72 hours after symptoms and fever subside.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should plan on receiving a call from a public health specialist to discuss how to protect themselves and others, find out where they may have been, and who they were in close contact with while infectious.
California COVID-19 Data and Tools
A wide range of data and analysis guides California’s response to COVID-19. The state is making the data and its analytical tools available to researchers, scientists and the public at covid19.ca.gov.
The William S. Hart Union High School District was named one of 19 school districts and one county office of education for school attendance review board as a model program for its attendance strategies during distance learning.
The Children’s Bureau is seeking foster families during National Foster Parent Appreciation Month and is now offering two virtual ways for individuals and couples to learn how to help children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or how to provide legal permanency by adoption.
To provide a framework to guide the future of residential development locally, the city of Santa Clarita is embarking on a public process to update the Housing Element of the Santa Clarita General Plan.
California Senate Bill 545, a measure to provide additional resources to struggling students, has received unanimous support from the Senate Education Committee, announced Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).