SoCal region’s COVID-19 ICU capacity continues its decline as L.A. County reports record-breaking cases, first child death


Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials again announced a new record of single-day COVID-19 cases confirmed Thursday, with nearly 13,000 new diagnoses, as the intensive care unit bed availability for the Southern California region, which includes L.A. County, continued its decline, falling to 7.7%.

“Like a speeding car approaching a cliff, if we do not rapidly change course, we are in jeopardy of catastrophic consequences, with our hospitals being overwhelmed and severely ill patients not able to get the care they need,” said Paul Simon, Public Health’s chief science officer. “Right now at this very dangerous time, people need to stay home at all times, if possible. We need to return to how he behaved in the spring at the beginning of the pandemic when we saw a few people out and few cars on the roads.”

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital also reported an additional death Thursday, marking the fourth day in a row the hospital has reported COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of seven this week. The county reported 74 deaths countywide on Thursday.

This comes as Public Health also reported its first COVID-19 death in a child under the age of 18 years old, who’d been hospitalized for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, which can damage multiple organ systems, require hospitalization and be life-threatening. The child also was reported to have had severe underlying health conditions.

The Southern California region’s figures are well below the 15% ICU capacity threshold that put the region under the state’s stay-at-home order for at least three weeks, which limits occupancy at shopping centers, prohibits gatherings, closes certain non-essential businesses, such as cardrooms and personal care services, and requires restaurants to open only for takeout and delivery.

Though the region is expected to be eligible to exit the order on Dec. 28, unless the ICU capacity improves, it is likely the region will remain under the order, as it can only be lifted when “four-week projections of the region’s total available adult ICU bed capacity is greater than
or equal to 15%,” per the order.

Public Health also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics for the county Thursday:

Southern California intensive care unit available capacity: 7.7%

COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County: 12,819
Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 487,917, with 173 cases reported earlier which were not L.A. County residents.

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 74
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 8,149

Hospitalizations countywide: 3,433; 23% of whom are in the ICU.
Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Dec. 10: 70, with 464 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 187, of which 152 came from the city of Santa Clarita.
Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 11,485
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV: 88, including one additional death reported Thursday 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: 7,648
Unincorporated – Acton: 157
Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 72
Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 16
Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 322
Unincorporated – Castaic: 2,537 (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: 57
Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 18
Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 384
Unincorporated – Val Verde: 133
Unincorporated – Valencia: 73

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