The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 136 new deaths and 2,157 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. Public Health identified 1,185,457 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 20,987 deaths.
Through extensive checks of death records, Public Health had identified an additional 806 COVID-19 -associated deaths that were not initially recorded as COVD-19 deaths. The majority of these deaths occurred during the surge between December 3, 2020 and February 3, 2021, a period when many deaths occurred and not all were reported to Public Health due to the volume of records. Public Health identifies COVID-associated deaths primarily by submission of Death Report Forms from healthcare providers.
Additionally, vital records are used to identify deaths related to COVID-19 by reviewing the cause of death listed on death certificates. This review of vital records, delayed by the high volume of Death Report Forms during the surge, identified the additional deaths. Public Health has already reported 9,712 deaths that occurred between December 2020 and January 2021 and were reported through Death Report Forms. Therefore, 92% of deaths that occurred during that period were previously reported.
Among these people who passed away, the majority, 47% were over 80 years old and a about half were male, 46% were Latino/Latinx, 29% were White, 16% were Asian, and 8% were Black/African American. Four people who passed away were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders and one person was an American Indian or Alaska Native. Sixty-three percent died at the hospital and 16% died at a skilled nursing facility.
As of Friday, updated State guidance allows for all outdoor youth and adult recreational sports, including moderate contact and high contact sports, to resume practice, training and competitions in counties where the case rate is at or below 14 cases per 100,000 population, on Friday, February 26. Since L.A. County’s adjusted case rate is now at 12.3 cases per 100,000, county protocols are being revised to align with the new State guidance. Moderate contact sports include: baseball, field hockey, softball, and volleyball, all outdoors, and high contact sports include: football, basketball, rugby, soccer, and water polo, all outdoors.
The new State guidance requires youth leagues offering moderate and high-contact sports obtain consent from parents or guardians of participants to ensure they are aware of the risks of playing. Competitions are limited to two teams within a county or two teams playing from adjacent counties. Travel to other states and countries to play in competitions or tournaments is prohibited for counties still in the purple tier. Youth and Coaches who participate in certain high-contact sports – namely, football, rugby, and water polo – are required to get tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19.
These revised protocols cover all youth and adult recreational sports; schools, city leagues, and private clubs are all required to adhere to all the safety measures in the protocols. A full list of sports and guidance can be found HERE.
As of Wednesday, Public Health has confirmed a total of 18 cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 (U.K. variant), in Los Angeles County. Scientific research suggests COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the U.K. variant. Vaccine supplies are still limited and the local transmission of the potentially more infectious U.K. variant underscores the need for Los Angeles County residents to continue to use every tool we have to prevent transmission, including not gathering with people you do not live with and distancing and masking when you are out of your home and around others. These measures limit the spread of the virus and known variants and can reduce the likelihood of a surge in cases due to this variant.
Of the 136 new deaths reported Wednesday, 44 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 41 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 26 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, 11 people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and two people who died was between the ages of 18 and 29. Ten deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and two deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.
There are 2,064 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 30% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 5,789,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. The daily test positivity rate was 3.3%.
“It is heartbreaking to report on this large number of additional deaths associated with COVID-19 and a devastating reminder of the terrible toll the winter surge has taken on so many families across the county. To all of you who have lost a loved one or friend to the virus, we are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Improving vaccine access to areas of the county that have been hard hit is our priority, and these tend to be areas where many Black and Latinx residents live. We have opened additional sites in these areas and are working with community groups who are assisting with registering people in these communities for vaccination. We thank our partners for their help and support as we continue to ensure improved access to vaccines in those communities that have borne the brunt of this pandemic.”
Throughout the pandemic, people living in low-resourced neighborhoods and people of color have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. While we see cases dropping overall, there remains a large gap between Latinx residents and other groups. For Latino/Latinx residents, daily age-adjusted rate of cases per 100,000 people peaked more than 2,400 new cases per 100,000 people in early January and has dropped to 453 new cases per 100,000 people as of February 12, but is still almost two times that of Black/African American residents, who have the second highest case rate of nearly 234 new cases per 100,000 people. Asian residents and White residents have a case rate of around 180 new cases per 100,000 people.
When the surge began in early- November, the average number of Latino/Latinx residents who passed away each day was 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people and then sharply increased to 51 deaths per 100,000 people in mid-January 16. As of February 12, the mortality rate among Latino/Latinx residents has declined to 25 deaths per 100,000 people, yet still remains more than double that of other groups. Since mid-January, the mortality rate among African American/Black residents decreased from nearly 22 deaths per 100,000 people to 9 deaths per 100,000 people. Deaths among Asian residents have declined since the peak, from 19 deaths per 100,000 people to 8 deaths per 100,000 people. The current mortality rate among White residents is also 8 deaths per 100,000 from the peak of about 17 deaths per 100,000. And while rates are declining for all groups, the mortality rate for Latinx residents is currently 38% higher than that of White residents at the peak of the surge.
We continue to see a high mortality rate among people living in areas with the highest levels of poverty, with three times the death rate compared to people living in the lowest levels of poverty.
As we vaccinate our residents 65 and older, the data has exposed a very similar and frightening pattern of inequity. White and Asian residents 65 and older continue to have the highest vaccination rate. As of February 20, almost 48% of White residents and almost 45% of Asian residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Thirty-eight percent of American Indian/Alaska Native residents, 34% of Latinx residents, and 29% of Black residents who are age 65 and older have received at least one dose. While these inequities are stark and unfair, when we look at the relative percent change from the week of February 9 to the week of February 20, the County is making some progress improving vaccination rates in the hardest hit communities. The vaccination rate for Black/African American residents saw the largest increase at almost 45%. For American Indian/Alaska Native residents, the vaccine rate increased 37.1%, and Latinx residents’ vaccine rate increased by 31.9%. The vaccine rate for White residents increased by 25.1% and for Asian residents increased 21.9%.
For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).
County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.