CA prepared to use ‘dimmer switch’ if surge continues; L.A. County reports 2,700 new cases


California Public Health officials said Tuesday they will not shy away from additional mandatory closures if COVID-19 cases fail to drop, as Los Angeles County surpassed the 160,000 case tally. 

Hospitalizations, deaths and the overall positivity rate have increased with reopening of the economy but the time has come to use the “dimmer switch to ensure that we get transmission rates under control,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state Health and Human Services secretary, said in a news conference. 

“We envision reopening as a dimmer switch. We’ve described it’s not a light switch that goes on and off; it’s a dimmer switch,” he said. “We’re prepared to toggle back and forth, making the necessary modifications based on the data that we’ve seen so that if we need to have more closures at one time, and we can change them in the future, we’re prepared to do that.”

The announcement came as L.A. County Department of Public Health officials reported Tuesday 50 new deaths and 2,741 new diagnoses, for a total of 4,154 and 161,673, respectively. 

Of the new cases reported, 57% occurred among individuals ages 41 and under, meaning “younger people are driving new infections and spread of COVID-19,” while those 65 and older account for 11% of all cases but account for nearly 75% of all deaths, according to Public Health officials. 

“The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures, while our older residents continue to experience the results of this increased spread with the worst health outcomes, including death,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a prepared statement. 

Statewide, California surpassed the 400,000 case count on Tuesday and has averaged about 9,189 cases daily over the past seven days.

L.A. County reached its third consecutive day of more than 2,200 hospitalizations, with 2,218 currently admitted, of which 25% were in the IUC and 18% on ventilators. 

Public Health officials said the department is providing $10 million to community-based organizations and piloting a $20 gift card incentive for full participation in case investigation and contact tracing efforts. 

Santa Clarita Valley cases

On Tuesday, Public Health reported 44 new cases, of which 31 were reported in the city of Santa Clarita, two in Agua Dulce, four in the unincorporated portion of Canyon Country, three in Castaic, two in Stevenson Ranch and one each in Saugus and Valencia. 

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital also released its weekly tallies Monday, which showed that more than 300 tests had been conducted since Wednesday, totaling 4,793 since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 555 returned positive and 5,063 were negative, while 339 remained pending, according to spokesman Patrick Moody. A total of 151 people have recovered and 26 remained at the hospital — an increase of three since Wednesday.

The number of SCV cases, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and those at Pitchess Detention Center, totaled 3,986 on Tuesday. Broken down into region, the totals were as follows: 

City of Santa Clarita: 1,839

Unincorporated – Acton: 40

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 17

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 1

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 69

Unincorporated – Castaic: 1,839 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 1

Unincorporated – Newhall: 4

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 2

Unincorporated – Saugus: 12

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 1

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 94

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 37

Unincorporated – Valencia: 30

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