Covid rates down, health officials ask ‘to stay vigilant’

Coronavirus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
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Health officials announced Thursday a continued downward trend across COVID-19-related cases, hospitalization and death rates.  

However, they seek to provide more vaccinations as they struggle with an uptick of open outbreak investigations throughout the county.   

“To date, more than 8.8 million people have been tested and had test results reported in L.A. County, and our daily test positivity rate is just about 1%, a very small decrease from last week’s rate of 1.1%,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during her weekly COVID-19 news conference.  

The average daily case rate, with a three-day lag, is now eight cases per 100,000 people, which is a decrease from the previous rate of 9.4 cases per 100,000 people. 

L.A. County’s daily average number of cases is 925, which indicates an 18% decrease from previous weeks. Daily average hospitalizations are below 750, 14% reduction in prior weeks and deaths decreased by 25%.  

“Although we’re thankful to see the numbers declining, we still have substantial transmission, and we’re going to need to be vigilant, if we want to reduce the spread of the virus,” Ferrer said.   

Health officials noticed an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks. At schools, they’re defined as at least three or more laboratory-confirmed cases within a 14-day period of each other in a specific group.  Ferrer noted that schools continue to provide “as much safety as possible for in-person learning.”  

Health officials saw 591 student COVID cases, and approximately 2,400 students close contacts. The numbers show a decrease of about 45% in student cases and student close contacts.   

Among staff, there were 88 cases and 171 close contacts. The county has more than 1.7 million children and staff attending or working at more than 3,000 schools county-wide, and these are “strikingly low” numbers, Ferrer said.  

“This amounts to 0.04% of students and staff testing positive, and 0.2% identified as close contacts,” Ferrer said.  

Ferrer then transitioned to encourage everyone – residents, students, athletes, bar-goers, and more – to get vaccinated and to follow proper health directives such as wearing masks and social distancing in appropriate settings to prevent the transmission of COVID.  

“The hope is that by adding in extra protections we avoid a winter surge that forces us to take steps backward on our recovery journey,” Ferrer said. “So please plan to add these extra precautions.” 

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistic Thursday: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,142 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,474,580 
New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 19 
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 26,327 
Hospitalizations countywide: 698 
COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley as of Oct. 13: 40, 49 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 36,379 
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Oct. 12: 344 

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