State data lag results in low COVID-19 case numbers


Amid another lag in COVID-19 results, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials on Tuesday announced 1,901 additional COVID-19 cases, along with 57 new deaths, bringing the totals to 195,614 and 4,758, respectively.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, 35 COVID-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, with 25 coming from the city of Santa Clarita, along with four in Castaic, two in Canyon Country, and one each in Bouquet Canyon, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch and Val Verde.

Public Health officials warned that the data reported is incomplete due to technology issues in California’s electronic lab system, which has resulted in an undercount in the county’s positive cases and has affected the number of cases reported daily, along with contact tracing efforts. 

However, there should not be delays in patients being notified of lab results, as laboratories continue to report test results directly to providers and hospitals, per Public Health.

This comes after Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday she’s “cautiously optimistic” with the recent decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations countywide. While the death toll has increased, with hospitalizations and cases decreasing, deaths are expected to drop. 

As of Tuesday, a total of 1,757 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, of which 31% were in the ICU. These figures are not impacted by the data lag, and are much lower than the mid-July average of 2,200 hospitalized patients per day. 

“While the missing data is troubling and hinders efforts to monitor and reduce the spread of COVID-19, data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations, are not affected by this reporting issue,” Ferrer said in a prepared statement. “Hospitalization data for Los Angeles County still shows a decrease, and we continue to be cautiously optimistic that our efforts over the past few weeks may be starting to slow the spread.” 

Of the 57 new deaths reported Tuesday: 19 were over the age of 80, 16 of whom had underlying health conditions; 21 were between the ages of 65 and 79, 19 of whom had underlying health conditions; 12 were between the ages of 50 and 64, 10 of whom had underlying health conditions; three were between the ages of 30 and 49, two of whom had underlying health conditions; and one was between the ages of 18 and 29 and had underlying health conditions. One death was reported by the city of Long Beach, which has its own public health department.

Testing results are available for 1.8 million individuals, with 10% of all people testing positive, according to Public Health. 

Following the state’s data lags, Public Health has now implemented an independent strategy to obtain accurate data, reaching out to at least 81 labs to obtain all test results from July 26 until present, as well as implementing a system for labs to report results directly to the department moving forward. 

Once the data reporting issues are fixed, the number of cases is again expected to increase.

SCV case breakdown

To date, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has conducted 5,403 tests since the onset of the pandemic. Of those individuals tested — many of whom are tested more than once — 664 returned positive, 5,927 were negative and 177 remain outstanding, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody. 

A total of 191 people have recovered and returned home, while 18 remained in the hospital Saturday, a drop of seven since Thursday. The hospital has had a total of 20 COVID-19 related deaths, which include the 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 4,495 Tuesday, broken down into region, are as follows: 

City of Santa Clarita: 2,253
Unincorporated – Acton: 45
Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 20
Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 2
Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 84
Unincorporated – Castaic: 1,862 (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: 45
Unincorporated – Valencia: 35

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