L.A. County Coronavirus Update: Deaths And New Cases Drop, But With A Caveat

UPDATED FRIDAY AT 2 P.M. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 28 new deaths and 568 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. That’s nearly 500 fewer new cases than were reported on Friday, continuing the rollercoaster fluctuations that have been reported this week.

As she noted last week, L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that today’s big drop could be because “there’s very little testing over the weekend.” And that could mean bigger totals later this week as full-strength testing resumes.

To date, the county has identified 26,217 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,256 total deaths from the virus.

Dr. Ferrer said 172,000 people in L.A. County have been tested, and a staggering 13% of them tested positive for coronavirus.

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UPDATED FRIDAY AT 2 P.M. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 62 new deaths and 1065 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. That’s nearly 300 more new cases than were reported on Thursday, continuing the rollercoaster fluctuations that have been reported this week. While Thursday’s numbers were down, there was a big increase on Wednesday.

L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that Wednesday’s big bump — over 1,500 new cases — included results from new testing in institutional settings and also a lag in test results from over the weekend, which likely accounted for the rise on that day.

To date, the county has identified 24,215 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,172 deaths from the virus.

These numbers were announced as California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday faced lawsuits and large-scale protests over his stay-at-home policies and decision to close the beaches in Orange County.

PREVIOUS The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 55 new deaths and 733 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. That’s about 800 fewer new infections than were announced Wednesday.

L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that Wednesday’s number included results from new testing in institutional settings and also a lag in test results from over the weekend, which likely accounted for the fluctuation.

To date, the county has identified 23,182 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,111 deaths from the virus.

Those numbers came on the same day that the CDC released a three-step “Reopening America decision tool” for cleaning and disinfecting public places (read it here). That guidance boils down roughly to 1) determine what needs to be cleaned, 2) clean using the appropriate disinfectant and 3) maintain and revise these practices. CNN reports that at least 31 states have plans to begin loosening restrictions in the next few days. California is among them.

Ironically, California Gov. Gavin Newsom closed all Orange County beaches on Thursday, citing photos and widespread reports of crowds on the sand during last weekend’s heat wave, especially in Newport Beach.

Newsom also announced Thursday that the California Department of Social Services has created a portal for child care to help parents who are struggling to work and also need to find care for their children. The initiative includes 400-plus “pop up” child care facilities.

On Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that free coronavirus testing will be available to all of the city’s residents. The testing is made possible through a partnership with Sean Penn’s CORE organization, which has been independently setting up testing sites across L.A. in recent weeks.

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According to the mayor’s office, the city’s free testing offer extends to any resident of Los Angeles County, but only at the eight testing locations within the city of Los Angeles. People must make appointments by visiting the city’s testing website.

Although anyone can get tested, priority still will be given to people displaying symptoms and to front-line workers such as health care professionals and first responders.

Los Angeles County as a whole has not changed its policy that only authorizes testing for people who are displaying symptoms of the illness. But Garcetti indicted there are opportunities for asymptomatic county residents to get tested at L.A. City sites.

“We have been opening up each night to more and more people, and still at the end of the day we have those tests that are left over,” he said. “We had the confidence that we could move forward (with testing more people).”

Garcetti said this would make Los Angeles the first city in the U.S. to offer free coronavirus testing to all residents, whether they’re experiencing symptoms or not.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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