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For Immediate Release:

March 24, 2021

Additional Variant Cases Detected, Pregnant Women and Skilled Nursing Facility Cases Decline. 92 New Deaths and 666 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 92 new deaths and 666 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,215,736 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,960 deaths.

There are 719 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 25% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 6,032,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today's daily test positivity rate is 1.7%.

Public Health continues to track variant cases in Los Angeles County. Among 73 specimens analyzed at the Public Health Laboratory this past week, 25 cases, or 34% of the specimens analyzed, were the California variant of concern, identified as B.1.427 or 429, and 21 cases, or 29% of the specimens analyzed, were the U.K. variant of concern, B.1.1.7. This means 63% of the variants sequenced this past week are variants of concern with the probability of increased transmissibility and more severe disease. Los Angeles County has yet to identify cases of the South African variant or the Brazilian variant of concern, the P.1 variant. Other variants of interest that were detected included 8 cases of the New York variant and 1 case of the Brazilian variant of interest P.2. While these variants are still considered only variants of interest (and not variants of concern), their presence indicates transmission of mutated viruses from across the globe.

Cases among pregnant women in L.A. County continue to decline. During the most recent surge in December, weekly cases increased to over 400 cases in a week for two consecutive weeks. Weekly cases dropped but remained high, staying over 200 cases per week until the last week in January. Cases dropped to below 100 cases a week for most of February and during the week ending on March 7, there were 14 cases among pregnant women. As of March 7, there have been a total of 11 deaths among the 6,941 pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19. Seventy-eight percent of pregnant women testing positive for COVID-19 are Latina/Latinx, 10% are White, 5% are African American/Black, 4% are Asian.

Although very rare, COVID-19 cases among children can sometimes result a few weeks later in very serious illness known as Multi-symptom Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). To date, there are a total of 138 cases of MIS-C, including one child death in L.A. County. MIS-C cases sharply increased in January; this can be correlated with increased cases of COVID-19 during the surge that weeks later resulted in increased cases of MIS-C. There were 50 cases in January compared to 15 cases in December and 21 cases in February. The average age of children reported to have MIS-C is 8 years, 11 months, but the range is wide, with children as young as 4 months and as old as 19 having MIS-C. Latino/Latinx children account for 74% of the reported cases. Like the high number of Latinx pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19, this also highlights the inequitable burden that the county’s Latinx population has felt throughout the pandemic. Black children represent 11% of MIS-C cases and White children represent 10% of all MIS-C cases.

Of the 92 new deaths reported today, 39 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 23 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 14 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, five people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29, and one death is under investigation. Tragically, one youth under the age of 18 also passed away. Five deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and three deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.

Since vaccination efforts for skilled nursing facility residents and staff began, we have seen a dramatic drop in cases among residents and staff. Similar to the experiences of many other groups and communities, skilled nursing facility residents and staff experienced a huge spike during the winter surge. Since then, skilled nursing facility staff cases dropped 97%, with only 9 cases for the week of March 7. Skilled nursing facility resident cases also dropped significantly, 99%, to only 9 cases as well during the same time period. This trend is similar to health care workers in L.A. County, and is excellent evidence that these vaccines are working.

Given the high burden of illness and deaths at our skilled nursing facilities during the pandemic, we have consistently reported on case and death numbers associated with staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. We are mindful of the importance of prioritizing vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities to add an additional layer of protection. As of March 20, 80% of skilled nursing home staff and 79% of residents received their first dose of vaccine; and 76% of skilled nursing home staff and 71% of residents received their second dose.

“We send our deepest condolences to the friends and families who are grieving today and wish you healing," said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. "I want to thank everyone for their commitment to following the safety measures over the last two months. These collective efforts made a difference and saved lives. I know there are many reasons to gather coming up, whether it is Passover, Ramadan, March Madness, or you would just like to enjoy the beautiful weather with friends. As we saw in the winter, failing to follow sensible public health directives can have disastrous consequences. I ask each of you to continue keeping yourself, your friends, and your family members safe."

People living in low-resourced neighborhoods and people of color have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Thankfully, as cases are dropping, the gaps are closing, although Latino/Latinx residents still have the highest case rate at 80 new cases per 100,000 people. Black/African American residents have the second highest case rate at 56 new cases per 100,000 people, and White residents have a case rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people. Asians have the lowest case rate at 35 new cases per 100,000 people.

The disproportionality across groups is most alarming when assessing rates of death by race and ethnicity. Before the surge began in early November, the death rate among Latinx residents peaked at 10 deaths per 100,000 people in late July. At the peak of the surge, the average number of Latinx residents who passed away each day skyrocketed 600%, to 61 deaths per 100,000 people. The mortality rate among Black residents was 30 deaths per 100,000. White residents had an average of 26 daily deaths per 100,000 people, and Asian residents, had a mortality rate of 20 deaths per 100,000 people. Fortunately, each community has seen decreases in deaths, and as of March 12, the death rate for Latinx residents dropped to 8.5 deaths per 100,000 people. However, this rate remains almost three times the mortality rate for Asian, White, and Black residents, at 3 deaths per 100,000 people.

In mid-January, those in the lowest resourced areas were experiencing an average of 70 deaths each day from COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, more than three times the death rate for those living in higher income areas at 22 deaths per 100,000 people. As of March 12, the mortality rate among residents in the lowest resourced areas is 9 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people, which is still three times that for people living the highest resourced areas, at 3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Gaps in vaccination rates also persist by race and ethnicity. As of March 20, White residents who are 65 or older have the highest vaccination rates with 60% receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Asian residents have the second highest percentage with 58% of those 65 years and older receiving one dose of vaccine. Almost 54% of American Indian/Alaska Native residents, 50% of Latinx residents, and nearly 45% of Black residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The County has partnered with many community partners to close these gaps and are relieved to have made progress improving vaccination rates among residents in hard hit communities. Since February 9, the vaccination rate for Black residents saw the largest increase at 124%. The vaccination rate for Latinx residents increased by 94% and the rate for American Indian/Alaska Native increased by nearly 92%. This compares to increases in vaccination rates for Asian residents at 58% and for White residents at 60%.

L.A. County continues prioritizing vaccinations for those living in hard hit communities and is grateful to all partners, residents, and workers for their efforts to ensure we are doing a better job vaccinating those most in need. In total, of the 541 vaccinations sites across the county this week, 263 are located in the hardest hit communities. The foundation of the County’s equity efforts is rooted in partnerships with community organizations and residents. There are various activities organized and supported by trusted community-based partners, including faith-based and community organizations. These efforts are concentrated in areas most impacted by COVID-19, communities in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and most recently, the Antelope Valley, where case, hospitalization and death rates are higher and vaccination rates are lower. We’re seeing our community and faith-based partners make hundreds of calls, pre-register community members for their appointments, and help people get vaccinated in some of the County’s most impacted zip codes. Thousands of residents in hard hit communities have received much needed support in getting their appointments and getting to a vaccination site. We are grateful for this outpouring of action from these critical community leaders and institutions.

For information about who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in L.A. County, how to make an appointment if it is your turn, what verifications you will need to show at your vaccination appointment, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

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.

Consulte la información adicional a continuación

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 1215736*

Deaths 22960

Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Hospitalization

Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

CITY / COMMUNITY** Cases (Case Rate)

These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation. 59 cases and 3 deaths previously reported were not in Public Health's jurisdiction. * Means that case numbers include cases associated with correctional facility outbreaks located in the city/community. **Rate is crude and is per 100,000. This represents the number of cases per 100,000 people and allows for the proportional comparison of cities of different sizes.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth .lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.




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