MORE than 300 individuals of Asian descent have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County, according to new data released by the Department of Public Health this week.
The latest numbers from the department included a breakdown of cases by race and ethnicity for the first time since the outbreak began in early March.
The county reported 620 new cases, bringing the county to 7,530 cases overall as of Wednesday, April 8. Based on that total, 334 cases or about 4% are of Asian descent.
The department also shared 29 deaths for a total of 198 deaths. Of the fatalities as of Tuesday, 18 individuals were of Asian descent.
A Filipina woman named Loretta Dionisio visiting her family in Walnut became the first death related to COVID-19 in the county on March 10, the Asian Journal previously reported.
She and her husband had traveled to Thailand and had a layover in South Korea before coming to LA. Dioniso, who had a history of breast cancer, tested positive for the virus two days before her death.
Based on the new fatalities reported on Tuesday, 21 had underlying health conditions and 16 were over the age of 65. Six people who died were between the ages of 41 and 65 years old and one of these individuals did not have underlying health conditions.
Over the last 48 hours alone, the county tracked 970 new cases.
Health officials urged county residents to continue practicing social distancing and staying at home as the coming weeks will reportedly be the peak of COVID-19.
“If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Monday. “We cannot underestimate COVID-19, a virus that knows no boundaries, infects people of all ages, and can cause significant illness and death, particularly among people who are elderly or who have underlying serious health conditions.”
From Tuesday’s figures, 1,510 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (22% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday also announced the expansion of free testing to anyone in the county with symptoms, as previous testing requirements preferred those who had underlying health conditions or were over the age of 65.
Testing capacity will continue to increase in the county, with over 35,000 individuals tested and 14% of people testing positive.
Orange County figures
Meanwhile, Orange County now has 916 positive cases and 15 deaths. Fifty new cases and one death were reported on Tuesday.
Of the number of cases, 129 have been hospitalized, 75 of whom are intensive care unit patients, according to the OC Health Care Agency. Following the breakdown by age, 1% involve children; 9% are between 18-24; 16% between 25-34; 15% between 35-44; 40% between 45-64; and 19% over the age of 65. Men make up most of the confirmed cases at 53%. Based on the deaths, 53% (8) have been over the age of 65.
To date, 11,307 individuals have been tested across OC. The county, however, has not provided a breakdown based on race and ethnicity.
Health officials in both LA and Orange counties last week advised the general public to wear non-medical cloth face coverings, such as a bandana or scarf, when doing essential activities like going to the grocery store or going to work. They also reminded the public to continue washing hands, avoid touching their faces, and limit exposure to those who are sick.