Public Health: Younger people now comprise 60% of new COVID-19 cases

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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials reiterated Wednesday the importance of avoiding gatherings with those outside one’s household as 18- to 49-year-olds now comprise 60% of new COVID-19 cases. 

“This explosive growth in cases shows that these two age groups continue to drive new infections and they’re making up the bulk of our new cases,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, referring to age groups 18-29 and 30-49. “Our most recent data shows that people in the ages of 18 to 49 comprise 60% of new cases, with 30- to 49-year-olds driving most of that.” 

Ferrer added that young people are those in the workforce, out in retail stores, enjoying recreational venues and socializing with those outside of their households.

“This is also the group that’s most likely to be attending large parties … gatherings of people from different households are such a bad idea,” she said. 

Public gatherings, including parties, during the pandemic remain prohibited under an already standing county health officer order, which if violated, can be punishable by “fine, imprisonment or both,” according to the order. 

The announcement comes as Public Health reported Wednesday 2,347 new cases and 68 new deaths, for a total of 197,912 and 4,825, respectively. These figures represent an undercount of countywide cases from possibly the past two weeks due to “significant issues with the state reported data” on diagnoses,” said Ferrer, who added that “we don’t exactly know the extent of the undercount.”  

A total of 1,768 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, of which 31% were in the ICU and 18% were on ventilators. Hospitalizations among younger people are also on the rise: Those between the ages of 30 and 49 account for 25% of admissions, and 18- through 29-year-olds make up more than twice the proportion of all hospitalizations than they did in April. Admissions of those 80 or older dropped by half since a peak in April, Public Health officials said. 

Overall, the county has recently seen a decline in cases and hospitalizations, Health Services Director Christina Ghaly said Wednesday. “It would be a mistake to conclude that now that hospitalizations have become declining that it would be OK to lighten up and let up on these practices.”

The Santa Clarita Valley saw 29 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, with 21 attributed to the city of Santa Clarita, three in Castaic, two in Canyon Country, and one each in Acton, Val Verde and Valencia

SCV case breakdown

As of Wednesday, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has conducted 5,570 tests since the onset of the pandemic. Of those individuals tested — many of whom are tested more than once — 682 returned positive, 6,122 were negative and 176 remain outstanding, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody. 

A total of 202 people have recovered and returned home, while 13 remained in the hospital Wednesday, a drop of five since Saturday. The hospital has had a total of 20 COVID-19-related deaths, which include two reported Saturday, Moody added. 

The number of SCV cases, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and those at Pitchess Detention Center, totaled 4,524 Wednesday, broken down into region, are as follows: 

City of Santa Clarita: 2,274

Unincorporated – Acton: 46

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 20

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 2

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 86

Unincorporated – Castaic: 1,865 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 1

Unincorporated – Newhall: 6

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 5

Unincorporated – Saugus: 15

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 1

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 121

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 46

Unincorporated – Valencia: 36

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