COVID-19 now L.A. County’s leading cause of death


After the county for the second day in a row reported its second-highest one-day death toll due to the coronavirus, public health officials reported 10 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 has risen 68 in the last day, bringing the total number of deaths to 797 since the pandemic began. 

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Public Health Department, noted during the county’s daily media briefing that on April 12 the county reported 31 deaths in 24 hours, which, at that point, was the county’s highest daily death total. As of Thursday, the average number of deaths in the county per day was at 44, making COVID-19 the deadliest disease the Public Health Department tracks, said Ferrer. 

To put this all in perspective, on average there are five people in the county who die from the flu each day during flu season; there are eight people who die from lung disease and emphysema each day; and 31 people who die each day due to heart disease, Ferrer said. 

“These are the leading causes of death across the county, and at the average rate of 44 deaths for COVID-19, COVID-19 has now become the leading cause of death across the county,” Ferrer said. 

Of those who died in the 24-hour period leading to Thursday, 51 were over the age of 65, and 40 had underlying conditions. Eleven people were between the ages of 41 and 65, nine of whom had underlying conditions, according to Ferrer.

The mortality rate for COVID-19, as of Thursday, is now at 4.5% among confirmed cases. 

The total number of confirmed cases in Los Angeles County has risen 1,081 in the last 24 hours, bringing the countywide total to 17,058. 

Countywide, 1,854 people are currently hospitalized and 4,053 have been hospitalized since the pandemic began, Ferrer said. More than 98,000 people have been tested for COVID-19, of whom 14% have tested positive. 

During the news conference, 1st District County Supervisor Hilda Solis acknowledged that the upcoming weekend will have hotter temperatures, but warned residents about resuming normal outdoor activities and group gatherings. 

“This weekend, it appears that we will have temperatures in the 80s and 90s,” said Solis. “This will test our resolve to remain committed to following the ‘Safer at Home’ orders.” 

“Now is not the time to let our guard down and lose the gains that we just made,” said Solis. “Please remember that the ‘Safer at Home’ order remains in effect through May 15.” 

The SCV, across both incorporated and unincorporated communities, has at least 348 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to DPH officials. 

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has administered 550 tests: 108 have been positive; 422 were negative; five were still pending; and 23 people are currently hospitalized. A total of 30 people have recovered and been discharged, and three people have died while receiving treatment at the hospital due to complications with COVID-19.

The number of cases for the SCV, broken down into region, were as follows, according to Public Health’s numbers as of Thursday afternoon:

  • City of Santa Clarita: 283
  • Unincorporated – Acton: 8
  • Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: “–”
  • Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 0
  • Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 21
  • Unincorporated – Castaic: 16
  • Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 0
  • Unincorporated – Newhall: 0
  • Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0
  • Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 0
  • Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 0
  • Unincorporated – Saugus: “–”
  • Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 0
  • Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 16
  • Unincorporated – Val Verde: “–”
  • Unincorporated – Valencia: “–”

Anywhere there is a “ – ” means they could have between one and four cases, which is done to protect patient privacy, according to Public Health spokesman Bernard Tolliver. Once these locations have five or more cases, then they will be included in the count, while locations that have zero will say “0,” per Public Health officials.

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