L.A. County sees 1K rise in cases, bringing total to 18.5K

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 1,035 and the number of deaths related to the coronavirus jumped 52 in the past 24 hours countywide, according to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials.

In that same time frame, the number of cases in the Santa Clarita Valley rose 15, with there now being at least 363 total cases in the SCV.

The total number of confirmed cases in L.A. County is now at 18,517 and the number of deaths has reached 848. One death previously reported was from another jurisdiction, according to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Public Health Department.

The mortality rate is now at 4.57% countywide for confirmed cases.

Ferrer said a new health order will be coming into effect on Monday that will require living facilities, such as nursing homes and other live-in institutions throughout the county, to limit the entry of people to only those who need to work at the facility.

It also suspended all communal activities and eating, according to Ferrer, and all staff within the facilities will now be required to wear surgical masks or cloth face coverings

A number of facilities around L.A. County and in the Santa Clarita Valley were already exercising these practices. Ferrer said what is completely new to the health order, however, is that testing will need to be conducted on all residents of those facilities, asymptomatic and symptomatic alike.

“On Monday, we will begin the process to make sure that we’re able to test all of the residents and staff that reside in our skilled nursing homes,” said Ferrer. “As we start this testing, facilities with the most severe outbreaks will be prioritized, but we will in fact make sure that there’s testing available in every single skilled nursing facility in L.A. County.”

As of Friday, the county was conducting investigations at 293 institutional settings, which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, treatment centers, supported living and correctional facilities. There have 5,339 confirmed cases in these facilities, 3,847 of which are residents and 1,492 are staff.

The large number of cases, Ferrer said, is due to the high number of tests they have been able to administer at these sites, testing even asymptomatic people.

During the Friday afternoon news conference, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said there were four benchmarks that needed to be met before “Safer-at-Home” restrictions would be lifted: increasing capacity in the health care system; ensuring protections for those at risk; increased capability to test, isolate and trace the virus; and to maintain physical distancing.

“We are not yet on the other side of this pandemic, and we don’t want to prematurely ease restrictions that could overwhelm our hospitals and unnecessarily put lives at risk,” said Barger.

Barger did not indicate a specific timeline for the easing of restrictions during the news conference.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has administered 561 tests: 110 have been positive; 454 were negative; five were still pending; and 23 people are currently hospitalized. A total of 33 people have recovered and been discharged, and three people have died while receiving treatment at the hospital due to complications related to COVID-19.

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

City of Santa Clarita: 297
Unincorporated – Acton: 8
Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: “–”
Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 0
Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 21
Unincorporated – Castaic: 17
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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