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Number of L.A. County coronavirus tops 15,000 after significant backlog of results come back; death toll rises to 663

Breaking news update: For a second day in a row, Los Angeles County officials reported a significant backlog in positive coronavirus tests, bringing the total number COVID-19 cases to 15,140, as the death toll reached 663. While 1,400 new cases were reported Tuesday, 880 of those were from the backlog, explained Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the […]

Breaking news update: For a second day in a row, Los Angeles County officials reported a significant backlog in positive coronavirus tests, bringing the total number COVID-19 cases to 15,140, as the death toll reached 663.

While 1,400 new cases were reported Tuesday, 880 of those were from the backlog, explained Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.

She added that a backlog occurs sometimes after weekend, but the delay in reporting could also be due to some labs not submitting cases through the county’s electronic lab system.

Previous story: Officials on Tuesday are expected to provide an update on the coronavirus crisis in Los Angeles County a day after releasing preliminary results of antibody testing.

The serology study conducted in partnership with USC found that hundreds of thousands more could have had COVID-19 in the past, even without showing symptoms.

While Los Angeles County has reported a total of 13,816 coronavirus cases, an estimated 221,000 adults to 442,000 adults may have been infected at some point before April 9.

This is based on findings that around 2.8% to 5.6% of a random sample of 863 county residents already had antibodies in their blood.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said Monday that residents should assume that they could be infected and that all of the other people they came in contact with can also be infected.

However, having that many people who may have already had the illness means that the fatality rate from the virus is much lower than originally believed, Neeraj Sood, the USC scientist leading the study said Monday. So far, 617 people have died due to the virus.

A representative sample of around 1,000 randomly pre-selected people will be tested every two weeks to track the trajectory of the virus in the county, officials said.

Also on Monday, officials reported a continuing uptick in coronavirus cases in county institutions, with investigations taking place at 265 facilities. This comes as California released data showing that there are 850 coronavirus cases amid residents and staff at assisted living facilities statewide.

Ferrer said the county is working to address the issue and has asked for help from the state and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Check back for updates on this developing story.