L.A. County Reaches Tragic Milestone of 8,000 Total COVID-19 Deaths

Empty streets in Old Town Monrovia Tuesday as outdoor dining in the region is banned by the state’s new stay-at-home order. | Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reached a tragic new milestone Tuesday, confirming 8,000 cumulative COVID-19 deaths and 3,113 people currently hospitalized with the virus.

Of the 3,113 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, 24% of these people are in the ICU. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is “increasing at a dangerous pace,” county public health officials said in a press release. Tuesday’s number marks the first time in the pandemic the county has reported more than 3,000 people hospitalized for COVID-19 and is nearly 1,000 more hospitalizations than a little over a week ago, when on Nov. 30, the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 2,185. 

Southern California’s current ICU capacity, the key metric in determining whether the region will remain under the state’s new stay-at-home order, is 10.1% as of Tuesday, per state monitoring.  

Public Health also confirmed 64 new deaths and 8,547 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The five-day average for daily new cases reported with COVID-19 is 8,993, nearly double than the five-day average for daily new cases seen on the day after Thanksgiving, which was 4,751, and triggered the temporary stay-at-home health officer order. This is more new cases reported each day for COVID-19 than at any point during the pandemic.   

With testing results are available for nearly 3,955,000 individuals, the county’s positivity rate is now 11%.

“Right now, too many people in our community are infected with COVID-19 and it is irresponsible and dangerous for people or businesses to flaunt the essential measures that protect everyone from transmitting or acquiring the virus,” Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health, said. “The way out of this may seem difficult, but the steps are simple, and those who disregard these safety measures are only delaying our recovery journey.”  

The county could receive its initial allocation of approximately 84,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, according to Ferrer. Healthcare worker will be given priority to receive the vaccine.

“Our hope would be by the end of January we receive enough vaccine here in the county that we completed Phase 1a, but again the unknown is how quickly allocations will get out into our field,” Ferrer told the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

It will be many more months before others in the county can receive the vaccine as roughly 600,000 will need to be administered to health care workers and staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

“Let’s be honest, it’s going to be awhile ’til, you know, we really can vaccinate all of L.A. County,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

December 9, 2020

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