Coronavirus deaths in LA County soared past the 1,100 mark today with roughly four dozen more fatalities reported.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health, announced 55 more deaths due to the Coronavirus.
The new deaths rose the overall county total to 1,111.
Ferrer said three of the deaths reported Thursday were among people aged 18-40, although two of those people had underlying health conditions.
“I want to note that although older people are more likely to pass away and have severe illness from COVID-19, every day for the last week-and-a-half I’ve reported on a number of people who have unfortunately lost their lives and been younger than 65,” Ferrer said. “So I want to remind everybody, this virus really can cause devastating illness among people of all ages.”
Ferrer also reported 733 new cases of the coronavirus in the county, raising the overall total to 23,182.
Of the 1,020 people who died for whom ethnic data was available, 38 percent were Latinx, 28 percent were white, 19 percent were Asian, 13 percent were black and 1 percent were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The figures continue to show a disparate impact of the illness on the black community, which represents only about 9 percent of the overall county population.
The cases include 172 among the county’s homeless population. Ferrer said Wednesday that three unsheltered homeless people have died from the virus.
The county is investigating confirmed or suspected cases at 307 institutional settings, including nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails and prisons.
That number is actually down from 329 on Wednesday, and Ferrer said the drop was a result of investigations being closed at some facilities because no cases have been confirmed at those locations for 14 days.
There have been a total of 5,296 cases at such institutional settings, and 525 residents have died, representing 47% of all COVID-19 deaths in the county. The majority of people who have died in institutional settings lived in skilled nursing facilities, Ferrer said.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, stressed that while the city of Los Angeles is now offering testing for everyone, regardless of symptoms, the county’s testing sites are still limited primarily to people showing symptoms of the illness. She said “as of right now there is no scientific evidence that would clinically indicate a need to test low-risk asymptomatic individuals outside of certain scenarios, such as people who reside in institutions and congregate living situations.”
She said a person who has no symptoms but gets tested — and tests negative — should not get a false sense of security.
“A negative test for an asymptomatic person does not mean they can go back to life as normal,” she said.
She noted that such people will still be subject to the county’s social-distancing and stay-at-home mandates.
“I understand that testing can provide individuals with a sense of security, and that it can make people feel more comfortable knowing whether or not you are infected on a certain day,” she said. “But I want to caution everyone on holding on too tightly to that security, because medically it is fleeting. A negative test one day does not mean that you won’t get infected the next or the one after that.”