Large Jump in Coronavirus Cases Countywide Attributed to Greatly Increased Testing
"These are the only tools we have," Ferrer stated, referring to Social Distancing and Isolation
April 1, 2020
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 421 new COVID-19 cases today at a press conference. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Department, attributed the large increase in known cases to a sudden surge in testing ability and the receipt of delayed test results. Of the 9,400 people tested for the virus so far in LA County, 4,000 of them were tested just yesterday. The county now has a total of 1,216 known cases of COVID-19.
9 deaths were reported today attributed to the virus, bringing the total in the county up to 21.
Pointing out that approximately 20 percent of people who've been tested positive for COVID-19 end up requiring hospitalization, Ferrer stressed the importance of the populace in staying home and social distancing. She warned that if people unknowingly infect others by failing to practice social distancing and other safeguards, there could be a million people infected in the county alone, requiring 200,000 hospital beds.
"These are the only tools we have," Ferrer stated. These tools include social distancing of asymptomatic people (everyone), isolation of those who've tested positive or who have been deemed by a physician to be liable to be positive, and the quarantine of those who've had close contact with anyone who is in isolation because they are positive or deemed likely to be positive for COVID-19. People in isolation must remain there 7 days or until symptom-free, whichever is greater, plus an additional 72 hours following the cessation of symptoms. Those who are in quarantine must remain in their homes for 14 days since they last saw the person who has COVID-19.
At this point, officials are still only administering tests to people who are symptomatic. These tests, however, are free.
Dr. Christina Ghali, Director of Health Services, spoke about the work officials are doing to make sure there are enough ICU beds and ventilators. All hospitals can surge ICU beds, Ghali explained. The numbers given of current ICU beds is related to the number of patients currently using them, not to how many are possible. Several different types of equipment have been shipped to the area and are currently being readied for deployment at the LA Convention Center.
Once this equipment is sent out to area hospitals, the Convention Center is being readied for use as a place for "non-licensed level of care." Patients who have had the virus and no longer need the hospital but have no place to finish their quarantine will be able to stay at the Convention Center.
LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger spoke of ways the community can help in this crisis, beyond the major step of staying home and social distancing:
- Donate blood. Appointments can be made at redcrossblood.org
- Set up deliveries for seniors or other vulnerable neighbors through WDACS.lacounty.gov/COVID19
- support local businesses: order delivery from eateries, shop online and purchase gift cards
- Put together hygiene kits for the homeless
- Donate to local charities
On the financial side of the crisis, County Supervisor Hilda Solis announced that the county is waiving penalties for late payment of property taxes. Astonishingly, the California lawmaker praised the Republican-led U.S. Senate for passing the $2 trillion dollar relief bill that is still being considered by the Democrat-led House of Representatives.
Solis also made a plea for people to call the virus by its "correct medical term," COVID-19. In earlier reports on the virus near the beginning of the year, the media had dubbed it the "Wuhan virus." Now, this term has been relegated to the politically correct dustbin - as if it makes a difference.