Coronavirus kills its first healthcare worker in L.A. County – Daily News

Coronavirus kills its first healthcare worker in L.A. County – Daily News

The first case of a healthcare worker who died from the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County was confirmed by health officials on Tuesday, March 31, though no details were provided other than the person was over the age of 60.

Health officials on Tuesday also announced 10 additional deaths and 548 new cases, the largest jump in the county’s ongoing tally of COVID-19 cases and deaths thus far.

The healthcare worker who died was included in Monday’s tally. The number of confirmed cases, now at 3,011, has tripled from a week ago. A total of 54 people have died so far.

“These aren’t just numbers,” said LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Our sympathies go out to the family and we have gratitude to this person who gave everything for the health of our community.”

Four of those whose deaths were reported Tuesday were under the age of 65 and one person was under 41. Roughly 87% of deaths so far are from people with underlying health conditions.

“While the majority of the people who are passing do have underlying health conditions, not all do, which is a reminder of the ferociousness of this virus,” Ferrer said.

The increased numbers are in part a reflection of additional testing, Ferrer said. More than 19,000 people have now been tested for COVID-19 in the county, up from about 6,000 a week ago.

County officials also said they would be opening up two new testing centers on Wednesday in Lancaster and Glendale and soon after in Northridge. Three additional testing sites by the end of the week will be located at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale and at the Pomona Fairplex. Officials were also working to establish a testing site at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and scale up testing in Long Beach, according to Dr. Clayton Kazan, medical director for L.A. County Fire Department.

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Hospitalizations remained at about 20% of confirmed cases. There have been 549 people who were hospitalized at one time due to the coronavirus, and 267 people were currently in the hospital, Ferrer said.

The department also has 35 investigations under way at institutional settings with at least one confirmed case. Among them, 20 are nursing homes and one is a homeless shelter where an employee tested positive. Two homeless people so far have been confirmed with COVID-19.

More than 11 facilities had at least three confirmed cases by patients or staff, which the department considers an outbreak. The total number of confirmed cases across all the institutional settings the department is monitoring has reached 155 cases.

Ferrer said that while it was a difficult day to report the increased deaths, she expects the number to continue to rise. The actual number of confirmed cases, she has continually said, is much higher.

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