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For Immediate Release:

December 28, 2020

Public Health Officials Require All Travelers to Quarantine Upon Return to L.A. County 73 New Deaths and 13,661 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 73 new deaths and 13,661 new cases of COVID-19. Public Health estimates there are an additional 432 deaths that reflect the delayed reporting associated with the Spectrum outage and the holiday that are in the final stages of confirming.

L.A. County consistently exceeds 13,000 cases a day with some days exceeding 15,000 cases. When the current surge began 58 days ago, the average number of cases on November 1 was about 1,200 cases a day. On average, 9 to 10 people in L.A. County test positive for COVID-19 every minute or, 540 to 600 people test positive every hour. Based on recent trends, a high number of COVID-19 cases will result in increased hospitalizations and, ultimately and tragically, to increases in deaths.

There are 6,914 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 20% of these people are in the ICU. Since November 9, average daily hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 increased more than 670%. These are the highest daily hospitalizations we’ve ever seen.

Average daily deaths have increased by 600%, from 12 average deaths per day in early-November to 84 average deaths per day in mid-December.

Testing results are available for nearly 4,630,000 individuals with 15% of people testing positive. The County's daily test positivity rate has increased significantly and today is 19.2%. The test positivity rate was 3.9% on November 1. The current positivity rate confirms that COVID-19 is widespread across the county and a very large number of people are capable of transmitting the virus to others. Many infected people are likely to not show symptoms while very capable of infecting others.

For those who traveled outside of L.A. County and recently returned, you may have had an exposure to COVID-19. The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people the virus causes no illness or symptoms. If you go back to work, go shopping or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others. All it takes is one unfortunate encounter with an individual with COVID-19 for you to become infected, and sadly, for you to go on and infect others.

Because of the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling outside of L.A County, for everyone that traveled or are planning to travel back into L.A. County, you must quarantine for 10 days. If you start to experience any symptoms or have a positive test, isolate for 10 days and until you are fever-free for 24 hours. The best way to safely quarantine is to not leave your home or allow any visitors to your home, and to find others who can help you buy groceries and other essential necessities. If you need help during your self-quarantine, such as finding assistance to help get groceries, there are resources available by calling 211 or visiting the Public Health website.

Public Health continues efforts to safely and effectively deliver COVID-19 vaccines and build a system that has the capacity to vaccinate prioritized populations. The first shipments are being used to vaccinate the frontline healthcare workers at acute care hospitals, EMTs and paramedics, and the staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. These groups are within Tier 1 of Phase 1a. As of last Saturday, a total of 66,628 frontline healthcare workers at acute care hospitals have received their first doses.

The County began distribution of the Moderna vaccine to skilled nursing facilities at the end of last week right before the holiday and continued through the weekend. As of Saturday, 1,748 doses had been administered at skilled nursing facilities. County, City, and curative teams are working together to accelerate vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities over the next two weeks.

Vaccinations at other long-term care facilities will happen through the federal pharmacy partnership with Walgreens and CVS and are likely to begin in early January. As L.A. County completes Tier 1 of Phase 1a, we will begin vaccinations for healthcare workers in Tier 2. This week and next, home health care workers and healthcare workers at primary care clinics, urgent care clinics and private practices will be invited to register for appointments through a secure web-based portal. All healthcare workers will need to show verification prior to vaccination. Please go to the COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Information Hub on our website for additional information.

Every week, as the county receives additional doses of vaccine, additional health care workers in Tiers 2 and 3 of Phase 1A will be offered vaccines. These include healthcare personnel engaging in field work, working at specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental and other oral health clinics, pharmacy staff (not in higher-tier settings) and vaccinators.

For more information about the County’s vaccination plans or to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, please go to our website: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Of the 73 new deaths reported today, 26 people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 25 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 12 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, six people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and one person who died was between the ages 18 and 29 years old. Forty-four people who died had underlying health conditions including 18 people over the age of 80 years old, 16 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, five people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and five people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Three deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.

To date, Public Health identified 733,325 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 9,555 deaths. “Our hearts go out to everyone who is mourning a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or a neighbor who has passed away from COVID-19. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Let’s give our hospitals a fighting chance to handle the flood of COVID-19 patients who are arriving every day. We thank everyone who has and continues to do the right thing to help slow this surge. Reducing the number of new cases is the only way to stop this surge. The urgency to take every preventative measure possible is upon us, otherwise the coronavirus transmission trajectory we see here continues, with its devastating impact on hospitals and people. We ask that you not be a virus spreader; we can’t afford for you to pass on the risk and the virus."

Targeted Stay at Home Orders issued by the State – and adopted by the L.A. County Health Officer – were extended and remain in effect. These orders will remain in effect as long as hospital ICU capacity remains below the 15% threshold established by the State. These orders prohibit gathering with non-household members, require everyone to stay at home as much as possible, reduce occupancy limits at businesses, and require masking and distancing whenever around others. Outdoor exercise is encouraged as long as you remain distanced and wear a face covering when around others. The Health Officer Orders also require that all non-essential business and activities cease between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. A complete list of the current safety modifications can be found online. These orders are in place for your safety and the safety of others – to reduce the potential for virus transmission.

The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Please see additional information below:

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 733325*

Deaths 9555