LA County announces 6 more deaths, 344 new coronavirus cases

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced six new deaths and 344 new cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, March 28.

Over the prior 48 hours, officials reported 601 new cases. The county’s total tally since the public-health crisis began is now 1,804 cases and 32 deaths from the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

The news was equally grim on Saturday elsewhere in Southern California:

  • Twelve individuals at a nursing facility in Yucaipa tested positive for COVID-19, county health officials said. An 89-year-old woman with underlying health issues who died from the illness on Thursday was a resident. San Bernardino County Public Health professionals worked to test all residents and employees of the center.
  • Orange County reported its fourth coronavirus-related death as the county’s total number of cases passed 400 on Saturday. Health officials confirmed 85 new cases, as the county’s total doubled since Wednesday.
  • Long Beach officials announced 18 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the biggest daily increase since the public health-crisis began, bring the city’s total to 88.
  • Up to 400 homeless people in Los Angeles County could die from the coronavirus pandemic, according to new estimates from researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and two other universities. The pandemic is likely to kill more than 3,400 homeless people across the nation, with up to 1,200 of those deaths in California and hospitalizations in the state could reach 7,000, with 2,600 in L.A. County, researchers said.

In Los Angeles County, as of Saturday, 22% of the people who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus had been hospitalized, health officials said.

The 1,804 cases LA County reported Saturday did not include 18 new cases reported in Long Beach or one case Pasadena reported Thursday. The LA County report has generally lagged behind those cities, which each operate their own health departments and compile their own individual counts.

Saturday’s announcement came as beaches throughout the county were shuttered to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a Friday statement announcing the beach closures. “I understand that this is a huge sacrifice for everyone who enjoys going to our beaches. But we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus.”

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms associated with the respiratory disease, which appear two-to-14 days after exposure, include fever, a cough and shortness of breath. While the virus poses a potential danger no matter a person’s age, most people — particularly healthy young adults — will experience mild symptoms; still, the disease can have severe symptoms and, as the rising death toll indicates, prove fatal, especially among the elderly and those with underlying health problems.

Ferrer, in her Saturday statement, urged all residents to do their part to combat the virus.

“Please do your part to not infect others or become infected yourself by adhering to the public health directives and practicing social distancing whenever you do go outside,” Ferrer said. “If we all commit ourselves to stay home, stay away from others when sick, and stay 6 feet apart when out, we will save lives.”

City News Service and staff writers Ian Wheeler and Ryan Hagen contributed to this report

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