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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

CORONA COUNT

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County surged past 25,000 as officials announced another 791 confirmed cases, along with 21 more deaths.

There are now 25,662 cases of COVID-19 and 1,229 deaths related to the disease caused by the virus, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

"The people lost to COVID-19 are mourned by all of us in L.A. County, and to their loved ones, we wish you peace and healing," Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said Sunday.

"We have all worked together in ways that have saved lives and slowed the spread of COVID-19. As we continue to plan for and move into recovery, we will need to continue using the best tools at our disposal, which includes isolating at home if sick, quarantining for 14 days if you are a close contact to a person positive for COVID-19, always physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings when in contact with others, and washing hands frequently."

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, 92% of the people who died from the virus had underlying health conditions, and the virus continued to have a slightly disproportionate impact on communities of color.

For the 1,121 deaths for which data is available, 38% were Hispanics, 29% white, 19% Asian, 13% Black and 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The confirmed cases include 745 in Long Beach and 417 in Pasadena, which have their own health departments.

The Los Angeles Police Department has now had 92 employees test positive for the coronavirus, Emergency Operations Center spokeswoman Jessica Kellogg reported Sunday, adding that 38 LAPD employees have recovered and returned to duty. One member remained hospitalized and all others are self- isolating at home and recovering, Kellogg said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has had 24 members test positive for COVID-19, Kellogg said. Of those, 17 employees have recovered and returned to duty. None were hospitalized and the remaining seven employees are self- isolating at home and recovering.

Los Angeles County continues to represent about half of the cases and deaths across the state. Officials in Sacramento reported Saturday that the state had 53,616 cases and 2,215 deaths.

Citing new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ferrer said that people who test positive for the virus or are believed to be positive must now isolate themselves for 10 days, plus an additional 72 hours after symptoms dissipate. The previous guidance called for seven days of isolation, plus 72 symptom-free hours.

"There's new evidence that suggests that the virus may shed for a longer period of time, which means that a person may be able to infect other people for a longer period of time than was initially thought," she said.

"If you now test positive for COVID-19 or you've been told by your provider that you're likely to be positive for the virus, you need to immediately self-isolate," Ferrer said. "And this means staying home and staying away from all other people and pets as much as possible all of the time. Please do not prepare or serve meals for your family, and please don't share utensils, cups or food with others.

"If you're a caregiver it would be important for you to find someone else in your family to perform daily activities that have you in close contact with others."

Ferrer said there have now been 182 confirmed coronavirus cases among the county's homeless population, the majority of them occurring among people who were housed at the Union Rescue Mission on downtown L.A.'s Skid Row, where an outbreak was confirmed in mid-April.

She also said there are 106 known instances of pregnant women who tested positive. According to Ferrer, 26 of them have successfully given birth.

She said the county is investigating confirmed or suspected cases at 316 institutional settings, including nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails and prisons.

There have been a total of 5,658 cases at such institutional settings, and 564 residents have died, representing 48% of all COVID-19 deaths in the county. The majority of people who have died in institutional settings lived in skilled nursing facilities, Ferrer said.

She said there have been 526 cases in federal prisons, the vast majority at the Terminal Island prison in San Pedro, where five inmates have died.