Public Health officials announced Tuesday three more people have died in Los Angeles County due to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with a fourth fatality of someone under 18 possibly also being related to COVID-19.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health has identified 256 new coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases countywide in the last 48 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 662 and the total number of deaths to 11.
These numbers include 21 cases reported by the city of Long Beach and six cases reported by the city of Pasadena.
“Tragically, one of the people who died was a person under the age of 18, a devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Health officials during the press conference said the adolescent’s death remained under investigation. A few hours later, a news release was distributed by the DPHS stating that the death would require further evaluation by medical professionals.
“Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality,” the Tuesday night DPHS press release said. “Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time.”
Ferrer said 119 people had been hospitalized within the county due to the virus, or roughly 18% of all positive cases.
“Forty-two percent of our positive cases occur in people between the ages of 18 and 40, and 39% occur in people between the ages of 41 and 65,” said Ferrer. “As of March 23, over 5,700 people have been tested in L.A. County.”
As of 12:30 p.m., the total number of cases in Santa Clarita Valley had jumped to 12. Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has confirmed that they have received positive diagnoses on a total of nine patients, two of whom are at the hospital as of noon on Tuesday.
During the county press conference, 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger once again emphasized the importance of the “Safer at Home” directive. The county, she said, was still seeing instances of hoarding at grocery stores and there were still concerns about the public’s collective social distancing efforts.
“We’re still seeing people neglecting to realize the severity of this crisis, such as spending time at the beach or on vacations,” said Barger. “It’s important for us to remember that the social distancing is done for your own good.”
Officials reminded residents of the new directives that had come into effect this past weekend, which prohibit all gatherings and events, and clarifies that golf courses and personal grooming services (including hair and nail salons) are non-essential services that should remain closed.
Additionally, Ferrer stated that if you are mildly sick, you should stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever-free, whichever is longer. She also stated people are required by law to stay home if they have tested positive for COVID-19, or their clinician has informed them that there is a strong chance they have the virus.
“As of now we know that there are some long wait times from some of the commercial labs, and I don’t want people to be sort of out and about, while you’re waiting for your test results,” said Ferrer. “If you needed to be tested, it’s because there was a good chance you could be positive.”
The COVID-19 test results have an average return rate of four days, Ferrer said.
“If you are presumed to be positive or you’re waiting on your test results, you need to immediately notify your close contacts so that they can begin to quarantine themselves,” Ferrer added.