Los Angeles County public health officials on Friday reported 62 more deaths related to COVID-19 and 1,065 new cases of the coronavirus.
Long Beach, which has its own health department, reported an additional 42 cases, bringing the county’s total to 24,257 cases and 1,172 deaths.
“At the beginning of the month of April, I reported 79 deaths,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county health director. “So we have had devastating losses across our communities during the month of April.”
A total of 1,959 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals in L.A. County, with 27% of them in intensive care units and 17% on ventilators, Ferrer said, contrasting that with the beginning of April, when there were 900 people hospitalized.
The county health department is investigating 316 institutional settings with at least one suspected or confirmed case of the coronavirus. They include both residential settings, which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, treatment centers and shelters, and non-residential settings, such as food establishments, retail stores and educational facilities.
A total of 5,658 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in these institutions, including 3,530 among residents and 2,128 among staff.
And 564 people who live in institutional settings, most of them skilled nursing facilities, have died from COVID-19, Ferrer said Friday. They now account for 48% of all deaths in L.A. County.
Officials also reported 228 cases of the coronavirus in county jail facilities, including 144 among inmates and 84 among staff, as well as 526 cases in federal prison facilities, 520 among inmates and six among staff. The majority were at the Terminal Island federal prison in San Pedro, where all staff and inmates were tested, she said. Five inmates there have died.
In total, 152,221 people in L.A. County had been tested and received their results as of Friday, with about 14% testing positive, Ferrer said.
She reminded residents that the county remains under stay-at-home orders and said that even as county officials plan for recovery, it’s important that the process takes place gradually to avoid a spike in new cases.
“The conditions we faced in February and March and April haven’t changed significantly,” Ferrer said. “We still have a new virus that is easily spread among people who are in close contact with each other. Ninety-five percent of us have still not been infected and until there’s a vaccine, most residents in L.A. County can be infected at any time over the months to come.”
She said that people will need to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus for the foreseeable future.
“While we’re planning for recovery, there will still need to be health officer orders in our new normal, and directives to help us make sure that we’re opening slowly and carefully so that we avoid any huge outbreaks and overwhelming our healthcare system,” she said.
Statewide, California surpassed 2,000 deaths and 50,000 cases of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.
Still, he said, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals declined by 2% over the past day, and the number of those in intensive care remained flat.
Newsom has said it’s too soon to lift the state’s stay-at-home order, doubling down on that commitment Thursday and calling for the “hard close” of all Orange County beaches.
Local governments from Southern California to the Oregon border were preparing to stage acts of resistance Friday, fed up with six weeks of restrictions that have curbed their movements in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.