County reports highest death count since previous winter surge

Coronavirus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported on Thursday one of the highest daily COVID-19 death totals since the previous winter surge between the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.  

Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said that the 45 newly reported deaths related to COVID-19 has more than doubled since the beginning of the week.  

“It’s important to note that hospitalizations and deaths are typically lagging indicators and it takes often several weeks after cases increase to see corresponding increase in these outcomes,” Ferrer said during a media conference on Thursday. “The sad thing is once we see these increase, they’re likely to continue for a few weeks after cases plateau or are beginning to decline.” 

The highest number of COVID-19 related deaths reported in a single day for L.A. County was set on Jan. 8, 2021, with the Public Health Department reporting 318 deaths over the course of 24 hours.  

While Ferrer said that the hospitalization rates and ventilator rates for the current surge are relatively lower than the previous surge, and that slightly more than 40% of those currently hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients are actually in the hospital receiving care for a non-COVID condition, the increasing hospitalization trends are a stress on the health care system.  

“This means that Omicron is causing not just an increase in the overall census at hospitals, but it’s also driving increases in the proportion of ICU and ventilated patients,” said Ferrer. “And while thankfully this is not at levels that we saw during last winter surge, these numbers do serve as a stark reminder that for a growing number of people Omicron is causing severe illness.” 

Ferrer reported Monday 45,076 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the county, bringing the total number of diagnosed cases and deaths since the onset of the pandemic to 2,131,523 and 27,895. A total of 4,175 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized countywide.  

In addition to reporting the latest daily figures, L.A. County Public Health officials said that new cases among skilled nursing residents have increased by more than 250% to 443 new cases and among staff by more than 350% to 1,522 for the week ending Jan. 2 compared to the week prior. 

Ferrer said that 54% of skilled nursing facility staff have received their booster shot while 85% of facility residents have received their booster.  

“The low percentage of staff boosted likely reflects vaccination status at the end of December, which is shortly after the health care worker booster mandate was implemented,” said a statement from Public Health. “It is likely that this percentage will increase leading up to the Feb. 1 deadline.” 

In the Santa Clarita Valley alone, there were 1,214 cases reported in the last 24 hours, 927 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.  

All COVID-19 services are free to L.A. County residents and can be accessed by anyone regardless of insurance or immigration status. To find a COVID-19 vaccine site near you, visit, or to find a testing site, visit   

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

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 45,076 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 2,131,523 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 45 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 27,895 

Hospitalizations countywide: 4,175 

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Jan. 13: 84, with 1,823 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.  

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 1,214, 927 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.  

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 55,823 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Jan. 12: 378 

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of Dec. 23: 78.6%  

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of Dec. 23: 75.1%  

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