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Sept. 23, 2020: 31 New Deaths and 1,265 New Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

COVID-19 cell

Key Indicators Show Progress in Response to COVID-19

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) continues seeing progress in key indicators, including daily hospitalizations and deaths. Public Health remains vigilant in monitoring the metrics that show L.A. County’s progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the disproportionality in highly impacted groups.


There are 779 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 28% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. Daily hospitalizations have declined and have dropped down slightly lower than the numbers seen in early April.  The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been below 1,000 for most of September and reflects, in part, an overall decrease in transmission of the virus and better treatments that result in shorter lengths of hospital stays.


Today, Public Health reports 31 new deaths and 1,265 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 263,333 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 6,423 deaths.


Deaths have continued to decline since the peak seen two months ago. In late July, the average daily reported deaths was 43, and on September 9, the average daily reported deaths was 20.  While deaths continue to decrease, if there is an increase in cases as a result of Labor Day activities, this will likely translate into more hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks. We have seen a slight increase in cases recently which we are watching closely, especially since these increases happened after the Labor Day weekend.


The County’s percent test positivity or the percentage of tests that are done that come back positive has fallen significantly from an average of about 8% in July to about 3% in September. A decreased test positivity rate is often a sign of reduced community transmission.


Data continues to expose disproportionality in COVID-19 health outcomes by race, ethnicity and area-poverty. However, Public Health sees signs gaps are starting to close.


Latino/Latinx residents continue to die at rates higher than other groups and experienced a death rate of 6 deaths per 100,000 people at the peak of transmission in July. This was 4 times higher than the death rate for White residents at 1.4 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate among Latino/Latinx residents has dropped to 2 deaths per 100,000 people, and the gap has narrowed so that Latino/Latinx are 2 times higher than White residents at 1 death per 100,000 people.


Black residents had a death rate of 4 deaths per 100,000 people during the peak of transmission in July which was over 3 times higher than White residents. Now, the death rate for Black residents is 1 death per 100,000 people, similar to White residents.


Asian residents had a rate that was 2.7 deaths per 100,000 people in mid-July.  Now, the mortality rate for Asian residents is 1 death per 100,000 people, similar to White and Black residents.


At the July peak, the mortality rate for people living in communities with the highest levels of poverty was 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people. This was over 3 times higher than that of people who were living in communities with the lowest levels of poverty. As of September 13, the mortality rate among people living in areas with the highest levels of poverty dropped to 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people, which while much lower than the July rates, remains 3 times that of people living in the lowest levels of poverty.


There is still much work to do to close these gaps, and we will continue to work with partners who are addressing the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities that are essential for optimal health and well-being. 


“We are thinking every day of the many people across L.A. County who have lost a loved one or friend to COVID-19. We are so sorry for your loss.,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “For so many people, COVID-19 has resulted in serious illness and death.  These people are our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues and our loved ones.  Each of us can commit to doing what we can, using the tools we have, to slow the spread of COVID-19.  It saves lives – yours and the other people in our community. I say this often, but it is worth repeating, please remember: Keep physical distance of at least 6 feet and wear a cloth face covering when you are out of your home and around other people. Wash or sanitize your hands often. Get tested if you are having symptoms of COVID-19. Isolate if you have COVID-19. And quarantine if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.”


Of the 31 new deaths reported today, 10 people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, 14 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, six people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Twenty-four people who died had underlying health conditions including nine people over the age of 80, 10 people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and five people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old.


Ninety-two 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 6,044 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 51% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 23% among White residents, 15% 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, 65 cases and nine deaths reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.


Testing results are available for nearly 2,576,000 individuals with 9% of all people testing positive.  The State updated its guidance on what groups of people are prioritized for testing. As of yesterday, groups previously prioritized for testing are now equally recommended for testing because of the improvements across the state in turnaround time for testing results.


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.