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

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For Immediate Release:

October 22, 2020

Public Health Reports 18 New Deaths and 3,600 New Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County; High Number of New Cases Due to Backlog of Test Results - Public Health Officials Outline Different Types of COVID-19 Tests and How They are Used

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 18 new deaths and 3,600 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases reported today includes an estimated 2,000 backlog cases due to technical issues with data reporting systems over the last few days. These issues have been addressed and we continue to improve our reporting systems. Public Health anticipates receiving additional backlog test results over the next few days.

To date, Public Health has identified 294,065 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 6,956 deaths.

There are two kinds of tests available for COVID-19; diagnostic tests and antibody tests.

A diagnostic test tells residents if they are currently infected. Diagnostic tests collect samples by nose, mouth or throat swab, or saliva. Diagnostic tests can be in the form of Molecular/Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or an antigen test. The PCR test checks for active coronavirus infection and is the preferred diagnostic test because it is most accurate. It is lab-based and usually takes two to six days to receive results, however some locations offer same day results. The antigen test, also known as the rapid diagnostic test, is not thought to be as accurate as the PCR test, however, it is much less expensive and results are usually available in an hour or less.

An antibody test, also known as a serology or serologic test, may tell you if you had a past infection. Antibody tests are blood tests. The antibody test is not for diagnosing current infection and a negative result does not indicate that a person is negative for COVID-19. The antibody test can be used to guide the management of someone with complicated symptoms and for research that studies the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic in a community.

Within each of these categories are many different commercially available products with many different design characteristics, including variable cost. Unfortunately, because many test products have been developed quickly and with limited regulatory oversight, the quality can vary. This makes it important to consult with your healthcare provider if you think you need to be tested.

Testing for coronavirus is available for free to anyone in Los Angeles County, and there is abundant drive through or walk up testing availability at both County and City of LA operated test sites. If you want to get tested because you feel sick or may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, contact your doctor to request a test. Those without a regular provider are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for assistance. Testing can also be obtained at some pharmacies. For more information about getting tested, visit or call the County’s 2-1-1 information line.

“To the many families who are experiencing the sorrow of losing a loved one to COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “When we look at the widespread transmission occurring in L.A. County, we know that many people who become positive for COVID-19 are unaware they were exposed to an infected person. I asked that you keep this in mind when you are out and about. There is no certainty that people you're interacting with or are in close proximity to at a gathering are not infected. We do know with certainty that when people don't protect themselves and others - by wearing a face covering, washing hands often, and at least staying six feet from others - this virus can quickly spread with devastating effects.”

Public Health has reviewed the new state recommendations and consulted with the Board of Supervisors about the timing for additional openings, including the re-opening of additional personal care services indoors with modifications (in addition to hair salons and nail salons), the percentage of high need students allowed for in-person learning, outdoor operations at go-carts, mini-golf and batting cages, and modifying requirements for breweries/wineries. Public Health will post a revised Health Officer Order tomorrow. As a reminder, county health departments are not allowed to be less restrictive than State Health Officer Orders. They can align or be more restrictive.

Of the 18 new deaths reported today, six people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 10 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, one person who died was between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Sixteen people who died had underlying health conditions including five people over the age of 80, 10 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and one person between the ages of 50 and 64 years old.

Ninety-three percent of the people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 6,552 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 52% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 23% among White residents, 14% among Asian residents, 10% among African American/Black residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races. Upon further investigation, 21 cases and six deaths reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.

There are 777 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 2,937,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive.

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 294065 *

Deaths 6956

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. 21 cases and six 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, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at,, and