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For Immediate Release:

January 04, 2021

Public Health Urges Everyone to Take Personal Responsibility and Follow the Rules as COVID-19 Spreads Rapidly Across L.A. County - 77 New Deaths and 9,142 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 77 new deaths and 9,142 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases and deaths reported today reflects reporting delays over the New Year's holiday weekend.

To date, Public Health identified 827,498 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 10,850 deaths.

In slightly more than a month, we doubled the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19, going from 400,000 cases on November 30 to over 800,000 cases on January 2, and since November 1, cases have increased by 905%.

There are 7,697 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 21% of these people are in the ICU. When this surge began in early-November, there was an average of 791 people hospitalized daily with COVID-19. On January 2, just two days ago, the three-day average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was at a staggering 7,623 patients. The high number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals is distressing not only for those who have COVID-19, but for all others in the County who need acute care during this time. People who have a stroke or heart attack or who experience a traumatic injury from a car crash are finding it more difficult to access care compared to usual times.

For the near future, based on all the travel and intermingling witnessed over the holiday, L.A. County is likely to experience increases in cases associated with the winter holidays. With the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases anticipated to once again reach 15,000, L.A. County could experience, two weeks from now, 8,500 people hospitalized each day, and a week or two later, daily deaths rising to 175.

Given that we are likely to experience in January the worst conditions that we have faced the entire pandemic, Public Health urges everyone to take personal responsibility and do your part to stop the surge; the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths do not go down until the number of new cases decreases. Everyone should stay home whenever possible. The fewer interactions we have, the less this deadly virus finds so many hosts and keeps spreading at a pace that wreaks havoc in every sector. If we stay home in January, we will help stop the surge and save lives.

L.A. County continues to experience increases in cases among healthcare workers. Since the pandemic began, 28,448 healthcare workers and first responders tested positive for COVID-19. Half of the cases are among Latino/Latinx healthcare workers, and 67% of cases are among women. There have been a total 132 deaths among healthcare workers and 57% of these deaths occurred among men which is an overrepresentation of deaths, since the majority of cases are among women. More than 75% of deaths are among healthcare workers who are age 50 years old and older, and 47% are among Latino/Latinx healthcare workers. The vast majority, 86%, of healthcare workers who passed away had underlying health conditions. The highest number of healthcare worker deaths occurred among healthcare workers (67) at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities. The next highest number of deaths, (21,) occurred among healthcare workers who worked at hospitals followed by 11 deaths that occurred among healthcare workers who worked at outpatient facilities. Tragically, we have seen deaths among healthcare workers and EMS personnel across many occupational settings. Nurses (39%) continue to account for the majority of deaths among healthcare workers.

Vaccinations are proceeding throughout Los Angeles County as we continue to build capacity. As of Saturday, January 2, the County received a total of 189,995 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 96,390 doses had been administered to frontline healthcare workers at acute care hospitals. As of Saturday, the County received 81,571 Moderna doses, of which 22,221 were administered to staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities as well as EMT's and paramedics.

The next Pfizer allocation, 82,745 doses, coming this week, will primarily be used to administer second doses to the first group of healthcare workers vaccinated in mid-December. We also are expecting to receive 50,700 Moderna doses, which will be administered primarily to priority groups within Tier 2 of Phase 1A. Tier 2 includes healthcare workers at urgent care and primary care clinics, home healthcare workers and healthcare field workers who face a high risk of exposure.

“Our hearts and thoughts go to everyone who has lost a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker. This overwhelming loss of life is unfathomable, and we will continue to hold all of you in our prayers,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “I hope all Los Angeles County residents will start the new year by asking what each of us can do to stop the spread of COVID-19. If we fail to use the tools currently available, our frontline healthcare workers, now caring for distressingly large numbers of COVID-19 patients, will face many more weeks of increasing numbers of patients and the heartbreaking loss of many lives. It’s better to be lonely than sick; better to care for others by following all the rules than to end up passing along the virus to someone who gets hospitalized or even dies. We are grateful to the frontline healthcare workers who are fighting hard to save thousands of lives, but we all know that there are certain people who simply won’t survive the ravages of this powerful virus. This heartache does not need to continue."

Everyone needs to keep in mind that community transmission rates are so high that you run the risk of an exposure whenever you leave your house. Assume this deadly, invisible virus is everywhere, looking for a willing host. Don’t let that be you or someone you care about. If you are going to work or to buy groceries or medicine, take every precaution possible. Try to never remove your face covering when near others, and avoid eating or drinking with anyone not in your household. Wash or sanitize your hands every hour if you are around others. Avoid any non-essential activity; Public Health suggests you take a break from shopping, avoid any type of gathering, and exercise by yourself or with members from your household. Currently, more than one in five people who get tested are positive, and this helps explain why there is so much risk when you socialize with people you don’t live with.

Testing results are available for more than 4,804,000 individuals with 16% of 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,www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Please see additional information below:

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 827498*

Deaths 10850