Sat. Oct 24th, 2020
la.-county’s-coronavirus-cases-climb-to-8,873-with-265-deaths

Los Angeles County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed to 8,873 with 265 deaths Saturday as residents started Easter weekend with more restrictions on movement and faced with a longer stay-at-home order.

Another 25 deaths and 456 new positive cases were reported Saturday, according to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health news release.

There have been 931 new cases confirmed over the past 48 hours, authorities said.

Of those who died most recently, 21 were over the age of 65 while two were between the ages of 41 and 65 years old. Twenty-one had underlying health conditions.

Of all the county’s COVID-19 patients who have died, 83% have had underlying health conditions, authorities said.

“As people of different faiths come together this weekend, my thoughts and prayers are with all those who are experiencing loss, illness and distress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the county’s health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a written statement.

The county’s stay-at-home order, initially set to end April 19, was extended through May 15. Officials ordered face coverings for all essential workers and told members of the public to also wear face coverings while they’re at essential businesses.

Officials warned that 95.6% of the county’s population could be infected with the coronavirus by summer if social distancing measures stopped.

In L.A. County, 2,172 people who tested positive for COVID-19 had been hospitalized at some point — that’s 24% of all positive cases.

After mounting fears that the county’s hospitals would be overwhelmed under the crush of coronavirus patients, the county’s health officials said projections now show hospitals will be able to meet the demand at its peak.

L.A. County had just over 1,600 available hospital beds, 277 intensive-care unit beds and 1,400 ventilators as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health Services.

After a slow start that was met with criticism from officials and members of the public alike, the county has also been working on stepping up its coronavirus testing capacity, adding more drive-up testing sites and removing some restrictions on who can be tested as supplies slowly rolled in and labs opened up countywide.

As of Saturday, over 45,000 L.A. County residents had been tested for the virus and 14% of them were found to have been infected.

Besides testing to detect current infections, the county also teamed up with USC to test random samples of the public for antibodies that would show past coronavirus infections, even in people who never showed any symptoms of COVID-19.

Officials hope that the antibody testing would paint a clearer picture of how much the illness had spread throughout communities and how many people had already fought off the virus.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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