COVID-19: SoCal region ICU capacity drops to 9%

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The intensive care unit bed capacity for the Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles County, fell to 9% as the county saw its second-highest one-day COVID-19 case count and the fourth-highest death toll to date, Public Health officials reported Wednesday. 

These figures mean the region must still remain under California’s stay-at-home order, with measures such as keeping limited occupancy at shopping centers, prohibiting gatherings, closing down cardrooms and personal care services, and requiring restaurants to open only for takeout and delivery. 

As of Wednesday, more than 9,200 new diagnoses were reported, as well as 75 new deaths and a total of 3,299 hospitalizations, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who choked up when reporting a spike in deaths countywide from an average of 12 deaths per day since Nov. 9 to 43 this past week.  

“While this trend line provides a frightening visual of our reality, the more terrible truth is that over 8,000 people (have died),” she said. “Over 8,000 people were beloved members of their families (that) are not coming back, and their deaths are an incalculable loss to their friends and their family, as well as our community.” 

The surge in COVID-19 cases across L.A. County continues, Ferrer added. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, for example, the average daily number of cases increased by 300%. A week and a half ago, the average was 4,900 new diagnoses daily, and is now at 8,933 since the first week of December. Hospitalizations have also climbed, as the average was 791 patients on Nov. 1 to more nearly 3,300 to date. Henry Mayo Newhall hospital reported eight new COVID-19-related admissions and two new deaths over the past 24 hours. 

The test positivity rate in L.A. County is currently at 12.5%, according to Ferrer. 

The Public Health director acknowledged that staying at home is a challenge as many continue to work, go to school and run essential errands, but still urged the public to remain at home as much as possible. 

“Many of us, and again thanks to all of our essential workers, must still go to work. Some of our children are at school, and we all need to access essential services from time to time,” she said. “But every time you leave your home and you’re around other people, you are exposed to COVID-19. The more you frequent different places, the more exposures you have.”

The L.A.County Department of Public Health also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics for the county Wednesday:

Southern California intensive care unit available capacity: 9%

COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County: 9,243

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 475,571, with 106 cases reported earlier which were not L.A. County residents.

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 75

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 8,075

Hospitalizations countywide: 3,299; 23% of whom are in the ICU.

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Dec. 9: 75, with 451 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 219, of which 162 came from the city of Santa Clarita.

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 11,298

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV: 87, including two additional deaths reported Wednesday at Henry Mayo.

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

City of Santa Clarita: 7,496

Unincorporated – Acton: 152

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 71

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 16

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 315

Unincorporated – Castaic: 2,529 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 17

Unincorporated – Newhall: 40

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 4

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 7

Unincorporated – Saugus: 55

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 18

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 375

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 131

Unincorporated – Valencia: 72

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