L.A. County reaches second-highest one-day death toll with 66 new deaths

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Los Angeles County officials reported the second-highest one-day death toll related to COVID-19 on Wednesday, with an additional 66 new deaths bringing the tally to nearly 730, as the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 330 in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Over the last 24 hours, the number of deaths countywide rose from 663 to 729, and 89% of those who died of the novel coronavirus had underlying health conditions, according to Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s Department of Public Health. Of the total, 48 people who died were over the age of 65, 13 were between the ages of 41 to 65 and two between the ages of 18 and 40. 

The number of confirmed cases across the county also increased, with 1,318 new cases reported Wednesday, which brought the total to 16,435, according to Ferrer. Of that sum, 477 were reported from Long Beach and 261 from Pasadena. 

The increase follows a spike of 1,400 new cases reported Tuesday. The county attributed 880 of those to a testing backlog. Though Ferrer did not identify whether some or all of the more than 1,300 new diagnoses were also a result of the backlog, she said there were “not as many as yesterday.” 

“Yes, we still have a significant number of labs that we’re reporting today that were from last week but I do want to note we also have an increase in cases today,” she said, adding that backlog reporting would “continue for the next few days for sure and even into next week as we catch up with some of the newer sites that aren’t on our lab record system.”  

Public Health has administered 90,000 tests, which was 1,000 more from the reported figure on Tuesday. Of that total, 15% returned positive, said Ferrer, encouraging the public to get tested if they present symptoms. 

“I do want to encourage people to get tested if they have symptoms. The test is fairly easy. It only takes five to 10 minutes, and it’s safe,” she said. 

The county has publicly reported a tally of COVID-19 cases in care facilities, jails and shelters, and on Wednesday, Public Health officials said they would soon list restaurants that have had outbreaks. 

With a reported 34 new cases on Wednesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses in the SCV reached at least 338, according to data from Public Health. 

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital administered seven more COVID-19 tests, bringing the total to 535 tests by Wednesday. Of that sum, 107 returned positive, 424 were negative and seven remain pending. A total of 27 patients were hospitalized as of Wednesday afternoon and six more individuals have recovered and returned home, for a total of 27 recoveries. 

On Tuesday, the hospital miscounted the total number of tests that returned positive at 109 but should have been 107, meaning no new tests returned positive by Wednesday, according to spokesman Patrick Moody. 

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

City of Santa Clarita: 273

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.

To view all coronavirus-related stories, visit signalscv.com/category/news/coronavirus.

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