Public Health: Curve is flattening but residents must continue practicing safety measures


As L.A. County aims to reopen by July 4, Department of Public Health officials said Wednesday the curve is flattening countywide and reported 1,324 new confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses that brought the total count to 40,857 countywide. 

“More recently, we have continued to see an increasing downturn in the daily number of new cases,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of Health Services with the county, adding that in order to avoid increased transmission of the virus, residents will have to continue “physical distancing, hand washing, cleaning surfaces regularly, wearing facial coverings, self-monitoring for symptoms and staying at home when you are ill.”

Ghaly said that if the economy can reopen without an increase in transmission, officials expect about 8% of county residents will be infected by December. 

In the Santa Clarita Valley, 20 new cases were reported for a total of at least 995. 

The high tally of new diagnoses Tuesday and Wednesday countywide is attributed to the county’s backlog from the weekend, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. 

Ferrer announced 57 new deaths across the county, bringing the total to 1,970. In SCV, the death toll sat at 18 after Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported its eighth death at the hospital Monday. The breakdown is as follows: 16 in Santa Clarita, one in Acton and one in Castaic. Of that tally, four were attributed to Oakmont of Santa Clarita and five with Oakmont of Valencia.  

Public Health, which reported 17 total deaths for the valley since Friday, updated its figures Wednesday to reflect 18 total. 

“There is a delay when (information) is reported to us. Deaths would be reported by the person’s residence not the hospital,” communications officials with the department said via email Wednesday. 

Of those who tested positive with the virus countywide, 15% were hospitalized at one point. As of Wednesday, 1,531 people are hospitalized and 28% are in the ICU and 19% of these patients are on ventilators. 

These figures “continue to see a slight decrease,” said Ferrer, “and this is good news.” Two weeks ago, the county reported that 1,828 who had tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized at the time, with 29% of them in the ICU and 19% on ventilators. 

“The number of hospital beds that are available within the county, the number of ICU beds and the number of ventilators continues to be adequate to meet the needs of those patients with COVID-19, as well as those who require hospital care without COVID-19,” said Ghaly.

Henry Mayo said Monday 1,332 patients were tested, with 197 of those tests returning positive, while 1,245 were negative and 35 are still pending, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody, who added that the disparity in figures is from patients being tested more than once. A total of 14 people remain in the hospital for treatment and 68 have recovered and been discharged as of Monday.

Public Health reported Wednesday that the number of cases within the SCV, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and Pitchess Detention Center, totaled 995, which broken down by region is as follows: 

City of Santa Clarita: 609

Unincorporated – Acton: 10

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 4

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 34

Unincorporated – Castaic: 19 (with 264 cases from Pitchess Detention Center) 

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 1

Unincorporated – Newhall: 0

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Saugus: 4

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 0

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 28

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 15

Unincorporated – Valencia: 7

Public Health reported 22 total cases for Castaic Tuesday but officials were not immediately available to explain the three-tally drop reflected Wednesday. Pitchess Detention Center, including all four of its jails, had a total of 264 inmates who had been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive and have been included in Castaic’s numbers, while the 30 staff who tested positive are reported to the region in which they reside, according to Public Health’s Wednesday figures. 

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