Public health officials said Friday the number of new COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has risen by 257 in the last 24 hours, for an updated total of 1,465 confirmed cases countywide.
In the last 24 hours, five new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths in L.A. County to 26.
The numbers include 54 new cases in the city of Long Beach, and nine cases in the city of Pasadena.
“In less than a week … we have gone from 409 cases to 1,465 cases,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “We’ve more than tripled the number of people here in L.A. County.”
All five deaths reported in the Friday announcement were over the age of 60, and one of deaths reported Thursday was from an individual in his 40’s with underlying conditions, Ferrer said.
As of Thursday, 11,000 people have been tested in Los Angeles County and about 11% of them are positive.
Of those, 317 cases have at some point been hospitalized due to COVID-19, or 22% of all positive cases. The mortality rate in Los Angeles County is 1.8%, or 0.4% higher than that of New York City.
“They have a lot more testing capacity, and therefore they’ve been able to identify many more people who are positive,” said Ferrer.
Additionally, the public health officer for Los Angeles County ordered closure of all public trails and trail heads, as well as beaches, public beach parking lots, bike paths and beach access points.
“The order is effective immediately and runs through April 19,” said Ferrer.
When asked what health officials believe is a realistic timeline for increasing testing countywide, Ferrer said an update on a predictor model will be discussed as early as next week.
“All of us need an improvement in the number of tests that we’re able to perform every day and that we also need faster turnaround time,” said Ferrer. “They are also looking at other kinds of tests that don’t require as much (personal protective equipment), they’re swabs that people can use themselves.”
Dr. Clayton Kazan, medical director for the L.A. County Fire Department, has been placed in charge of coordinating the expansion of COVID-19 testing countywide.
Said Ferrer: “If you don’t mind waiting a little, I know Dr. Kazan will be back with us on either Monday or Tuesday, and he’ll be able to report out way more detail on testing capacity across the county.”