LOS ANGELES - Public Health officials on Monday announced an additional 15 deaths and 420 new COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, bringing the county's death count up to 147 and total number of cases to 6,360.
Out of the new deaths, 12 individuals were over the age of 65 and of those, seven had underlying health conditions. The remaining three deaths were individuals between the ages of 41 and 65, one of which had underlying health conditions.
The county's mortality rate rose to 2.3% on Monday, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.
Public Health said that there are currently about 900 individuals hospitalized across the county due to COVID-19. Approximately 6% of those who are hospitalized are currently in the intensive care unit. Fifty-four percent of those in the ICU have underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.
As of this writing, more than 32,000 individuals in the county have been tested for the coronavirus, with about 14% of those tested receiving positive results.
According to data collected by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the coronavirus death toll in the United States climbed above 10,000 Monday. More than 338,000 Americans have been infected with the virus and more than 17,000 have recovered, the data showed.
Public Health continues to stress to the public that while a majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions, not everyone does. Residents are urged to continue to take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from the virus.
Health officials say that social distancing remains our best defense against the virus, and all residents are instructed to abide by current measures in place across the state. Social distancing is not only about preventing the illness itself, but rather, slowing the rate at which people get sick.
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump warned that the country could be headed into its “toughest” weeks yet as the coronavirus death toll mounts.
“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” Trump said Saturday in a somber start to his daily briefing on the pandemic, “There will be death.”
The following day, the White House Coronavirus Task Force urged Americans to avoid going to grocery stores and pharmacies over the next two weeks as the pandemic is expected to worsen across the country.
"The next two weeks are extraordinarily important," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's task force coordinator. "This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the 6-feet distancing, washing their hands."
On April 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it would be recommending people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The use of face coverings is believed to help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, without knowing it, from transmitting it to others.
This comes as more evidence is emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. Last week, the CDC changed how it was defining risk of infection for Americans, saying anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.
In accordance with new guidelines from the CDC, Public Health said that anyone who begins to experience symptoms must contact those they were in contact with up to 48 hours prior to having symptoms in order for them to self-isolate.
Public Health requests that anyone who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for the 14-day quarantine period in order to help slow the spread.
According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
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Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread:
"If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick."
Click here for a list of locations of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.