57 deaths, 1,901 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in LA County

FIFTY-SEVEN new deaths and 1,901 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday, August 7.

The State has determined under reporting of COVID-19 cases due to technology issues with the electronic laboratory system (ELR).

Public Health learned of new issues with the State ELR feed on an emergency call convened by the State last night. This issue has undercounted the County’s positive cases and affects the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day and our contact tracing efforts. However, there should not be delays in patients being notified of lab results, as laboratories continue to report tests results directly to providers and hospitals.

The department has implemented an independent strategy to obtain accurate data and a team from the department is now working urgently to reach out to at least 81 labs to obtain all COVID-19 test results from July 26 to the present to determine the accurate positive case count in Los Angeles County for the time period in question. Public Health is also implementing a system for all labs to report positive test results to the department immediately so that moving forward the department can have an accurate case count and be assured that contact tracing efforts are not delayed.

Public Health has noted issues with the State electronic lab reporting system for about two weeks. Once the data reporting issues are fixed, the number of cases is expected to increase.

Data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations, are not impacted by this reporting issue.  Public Health is reporting 1,757 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. The number of hospitalizations has been lower in recent days and this is not due to any known reporting issues. Daily hospitalizations were over 2,000 patients last week.
To date, Public Health has identified 195,614 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 4,758 deaths.  Upon further investigation, 75 cases reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.

Of the 57 new deaths, 19 people that passed away (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena) were over the age of 80, 21 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 12 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, three people who died was between the ages of 30 and 49 years old and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Forty-eight people had underlying health conditions including 16 people over the age of 80 years old, 19 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 10 people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, two people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and one person between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach.

Ninety-two percent of the people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 4,453 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 49% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 24% among White residents, 15% among Asian residents, 11% among African American/Black residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races.

Upon further investigation, 33 cases and one death reported earlier were not LA County residents.

Testing results are available for over 1,818,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.

“We send our deepest sympathies and prayers to our neighbors who have lost loved ones to COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “While the missing data is troubling and hinders efforts to monitor and reduce the spread of COVID-19, data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations, are not affected by this reporting issue. Hospitalization data for Los Angeles County still shows a decrease, and we continue to be cautiously optimistic that our efforts over the past few weeks may be starting to slow the spread.”

Given the current delays, the department urges any person with a positive lab result to call  1-833-540-0473 to connect with a public health specialist who can provide information about services and support.

Adequate testing and case investigations are critical tools to contain spread, but in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 everyone needs to comply with the directives already in place. Everyone has to wear a face covering, avoid gathering with people you don’t live with, stay home as much as possible, and practice hand hygiene.

All events and gatherings, unless specifically allowed by Health Officer Orders remain prohibited.  When people gather with people outside of their household it increases the risk of COVID-19 spread. The more individuals interact with others at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of those individuals becoming infected with COVID-19.

Businesses must implement the required infection control protocols and report any COVID-19 outbreaks to Public Health as directed in Health Officer Orders.

The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov. (AJPress)

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