News Release
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313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806  |  Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  (213) 288-8144  |

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For Immediate Release:

December 16, 2020

As L.A. County Surges Past Previous Highs of COVID-19 Deaths, Cases and Hospitalizations, Public Health Calls on Everyone to Stay Home During this Dangerous Time - 138 New Deaths and 22,422 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirms the highest number of new COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations ever reported throughout the pandemic.

The case and death numbers provided at the news briefing earlier today did not include the Cities of Long Beach and Pasadena.

Today, Public Health has confirmed 138 new deaths and 22,422 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases reported today are, in part, due to a backlog of over 7,000 test results received from one large lab.

During the last week of November, the County experienced an average of about 5,900 new cases a day. Today's number is nearly four times that.

Since November 9, average daily deaths have increased nearly 600%, from 12 average deaths per day to more than 70 this week.

There are 4,656 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 21% of these people are in the ICU. Hospital available capacity is decreasing to alarming levels and healthcare workers are pushed to the limits; this affects every single person living and working in L.A. County since everyone depends on essential hospital services when needed.

Initial allocations of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Los Angeles County. As of today, all nine designated sites received their allotment of the almost 83,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Each of these nine prepositioned sites worked with Public Health and EMS to arrange for the redistribution of vaccines so that every acute care hospital across Los Angeles County that treats COVID-19 patients receive a pro-rata share of this initial allocation. As of today, acute care hospitals are beginning or will soon begin the process of administering the vaccinations to their staff at highest risk of exposure. The first round of COVID-19 vaccines in LA County are appropriately going to the heroes in this pandemic – the frontline healthcare workers who have been putting themselves at risk each day to care for others.

Public Health invites everyone to join the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, how it was developed, where it will be distributed in communities, and when it will be made available to the general public. The town hall will be this Thursday, December 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30pm and will be streamed live on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube @lapublichealth. For more information and to submit a question, visit:

Of the 138 new deaths reported today, 45 people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 49 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 27 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, nine people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. One hundred people who died had underlying health conditions including 37 people over the age of 80 years old, 39 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 20 people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and four people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Seven deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach.

To date, Public Health identified 566,005 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 8,568 deaths “For everyone who is now facing a future without a loved one or friend who has passed away from COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies and we wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We have the most difficult road in front of us and the virus is rampant in our neighborhoods. Every hour, on average, two of our neighbors, family members and friends are dying from COVID-19. The most important way we get through these hard times is for everyone to stay home as much as possible and only go out for work, exercise or for essential services. When you must leave your home, always wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Please cancel holiday plans that involve travel or gathering with friends and family that are not part of your household. Unless we remain more diligent through the holidays - and beyond – we will not be able to stop the surge and provide essential relief to our hospitals and healthcare workers."

While not at the levels seen early on in the pandemic, L.A. County is experiencing increases in deaths from COVID-19 among residents at skilled nursing facilities. During the week of November 15, 30 residents passed away, and during the week of December 5, 49 residents passed away. For comparison in early May, weekly deaths for residents of skilled nursing facilities reached a high of 191.

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, the gaps between race and ethnicity groups that we made progress closing in September, continue to widen, particularly for Latino/Latinx residents compared to other groups, though all groups are experiencing increases. Latino/Latinx residents are now seeing a 7-day cumulative rate of nearly 650 new cases per 100,000 people. This is more than two times that of African American/Black residents, the group with the second highest case rate of about 270 new cases per 100,000 people, and almost three times the rate experienced by White residents (250 new cases per 100,000 people) and Asian residents (172 new cases per 100,000 people).

Latino/Latinx, African American/Black, and Asian residents are also experiencing an alarming increase in deaths. The death rate among Latino/Latinx residents has increased from 1.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate for African American/Black residents has increased from less than 1 death per 100,000 people to 3 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate among Asian residents increase from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 3 deaths per 100,000 people.

We continue to see a high mortality rate among people living in areas with the highest levels of poverty, with four times the death rate compared to people living in the lowest levels of poverty.

Throughout the pandemic, the life and death consequences of racism and poverty have played out in devastating ways and they continue to do so. The widening gaps are a stark reminder that many of our essential workers are Black and Brown, and many are not able to telework or stay home; many work at jobs with low wages, and live in under-resourced neighborhoods. During the surge, all our essential workers are taking on increased risks at their jobs because community transmission rates are high. The only way to reduce their risk is for every business to fully implement the safety modifications required by the Health Officer Order; this includes providing appropriate PPE and infection control. Violations at workplaces can be reported anonymously at 888-700-9995

We need every resident to protect our essential workers by playing by rules. This means always wear a face covering and keep distance from others, no crowding, frequent handwashing, and limiting all non-essential activities.

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,

Please see additional information below:

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 566005 *

Deaths 8568

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)


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


These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation. 186 cases and one death 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, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at,, and