The number of health care workers known to be infected with coronavirus in Los Angeles County more than doubled in less than a week, with nurses accounting for nearly a third of those sick, officials said Monday.
At of the end of last week, there were 787 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the county’s health care workers. Three of them have died, including two hospital workers and one person in correctional health, L.A. County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in Monday’s news briefing.
That’s up from 324 confirmed cases and two deaths among health workers last Wednesday.
Medical workers now account for 8% of the 9,420 cases confirmed countywide, compared to 4% of the 7,530 cases confirmed last week.
Statewide, more than 2,500 health care workers were reported infected as of Monday, accounting for about 11% of California’s 22,348 confirmed cases.
The news comes as health facilities across the region and nation continue to battle a shortage of protective gear and other supplies, with officials and institutions left scrambling to compete with others across the globe impacted by the pandemic.
In L.A. County about a third of medical workers infected are nurses, and physicians account for another 9%. But Ferrer said cases have been confirmed among “all of the other health care occupations,” including emergency medical technicians, lab workers and receptionists.
“We continue to track what’s happening in our health care facilities so we can make sure that our workers are protected,” Ferrer said.
A majority of health care workers — about 60% — didn’t know or report on who exposed them to the virus. Of those who did know, 24% said it was a patient or another medical worker.
So far, public health officials have confirmed cases in 22 clinical settings across the county. A list of all institutions with at least one positive case is available on the county Department of Public Health website.
Of all the health workers infected, 43% worked in hospitals, 19% skilled nursing or assisted living and 12% in outpatient facilities, according to Ferrer.
“The word grateful does not begin to describe how we feel about our health care workers,” Ferrer said. “Their heroism and sacrifice can not be understated.”