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“This Is the Week to Skip Shopping, Stay Home,” Health Director Says in Reporting 15 New Deaths

A screen capture of the Facebook Live online streaming of the L.A. County daily press briefing, on April 6, 2020. Director of LACDPH Barbara Ferrer gives the status update.

Location

Alhambra , CA

After a weekend that saw a dramatic increase in daily death totals and number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, Los Angeles County confirmed 15 new deaths Monday and 420 new cases.

Monday’s sobering toll came as Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, warned residents that this week could see a dramatic increase in the number of cases and the number of deaths, which in L.A. County now stands at 147. The mortality rate is at 2.3% up from 1.8% last week.

“If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether,” Ferrer said at the Monday press briefing in urging new vigilance to stem the tide of cases, which has risen dramatically in the last week.

“We have a lot of asymptomatic cases,” Ferrer said, “people who may be out and still have the ability to infect others. So this is the week to stay home — and perhaps next week as well – so our cases don’t skyrocket.”

She repeated the message that cloth face coverings are vital when one is in public but noted that they are not a replacement for social distancing or staying at home altogether. 

In relaying Monday’s numbers, Ferrer noted eight of the people who died had underlying health conditions and 12 of those people were over age 65. Five others who died were over 65 and had no underlying health conditions. Three people who died were between the ages of 41 and 65 and two of those cases had no underlying health issues.

Over the last 48 hours, there have been 1083 new cases bring the county’s total to 6,360. On Saturday there were 711 cases reported with 28 deaths, which was the highest case and death toll thus far.

Ferrer said that while testing capacity has gone up dramatically in recent days there are still some areas of Los Angeles County where testing scarcity exists. New testing sites are being planned for Drew Medical Center in South Los Angeles, in Santa Clarita, and, closer to the San Gabriel Valley, at a still unannounced cite in East Los Angeles.

Ferrer said that 32,000 tests have been conducted in Los Angeles County and that 14% of those tests have been positive. She said the number may skew a bit high for lack of negative result reports from some new labs.

The weekend totals were striking, particularly Saturday’s death toll which was 28, more than twice the number of any previous day. On Sunday, the first two deaths in the city of Pasadena were reported in the daily tally that was 15.

Ferrer spent much of her time in the briefing talking directly to senior citizens and people with underlying medical conditions urging them to be vigilant and stay safe. She urged them to seek to have any necessary groceries for medicines delivered either by the business itself or picked up by trusted friends and, in turn, left for them at their front doors.  

And she emphasized the fact that older people and people with significant underlying medical conditions are most at risk of catching and succumbing from this virus, which has no cure. She said it was vital for the elderly and medically compromised to contact their medical providers if they are experiencing the signs of coronavirus.

She also spoke about the number of cases at institutional settings including nursing homes, skilled rehabilitation facilities and local jails. She said there have been 512 cases at these settings, mostly nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and that 26 people in those facilities have died.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health offers a list of these facilities on their web site and none are in the San Gabriel Valley.

The number of cases among homeless persons is also ticking upward and now numbers 12, with one of the cases being investigated as possibly having been living in a shelter when they were still contagious.

Ferrer also said county officials were worried about some populations that are historically underserved in terms of medical care including African-Americans, Native-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

During the briefing, Dr. Christina Ghaly, the Director of Health Services in Los Angeles County, responded to a question on when the apex of the virus may hit in Los Angeles County.

Ghaly said that the modeling is vital to understanding the trajectory of the disease but it would not be able to provide an exact day or date for the peak. It would be able to suggest a range of potential scenarios that would allow health officials some options and vital information.

“The goal here,” she said, ”would be to lower, flatten and spread out the peak.”

Earlier Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at his press briefing that statewide models suggested that coronavirus cases in California are not expected to peak until May. He said that was the rationale for the decision to lend 500 state-owned ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile to help other states including New York.

Newsom also announced that the state and County of Los Angeles working with Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health would establish a “Los Angeles Surge Hospital” on the campus of the recently closed St. Vincent Medical Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The facility is expected to open on April 13 and will be a referral facility, similar to the USNS Mercy hospital ship, and have neither an emergency room nor accept walk-in patients.

The breakdown of cases by community for Monday’s press release:

  • Pasadena: 58; 2 deaths (reported by their separate health department)
  • Alhambra: 22
  • Arcadia: 16
  • Boyle Heights: 40
  • El Monte: 21
  • El Sereno: 20
  • Unincorporated East L.A.: 51
  • Highland Park: 21
  • Lincoln Heights: 12
  • Montebello:  20
  • Monterey Park: 19
  • Rosemead: 9
  • San Gabriel: 11
  • San Marino: 5
  • Unincorporated South San Gabriel: 6
  • South Pasadena: 10
  • Temple City: 11
  • Numbers are suppressed in communities with less than 25,000 residents, but with 1-4 confirmed cases:
    • Unincorporated Northeast San Gabriel
    • South El Monte

The “Safer at Home” order may not be true for some homes experiencing domestic violence. Resources are available and emergency protective orders are still being enforced. Call 800-978-3000 or go to their page.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health page.

Meal assistance for the elderly: Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services page or call 800-510-2020.

 

For all of the reporting from the Alhambra Source, go to our Stay Healthy page.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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