The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 48 new deaths and 1,644 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
Younger residents continued to make up the majority of positive new cases. Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 71 percent were people under the age of 50. Residents between the ages of 30 and 49 make up 35 percent of new cases. That means Angelenos under 30 make up 36 percent of the new coronavirus cases reported on Saturday.
While people in that age group typically have low risk for serious illness or death from COVID-19, Public Health is concerned they may unknowingly infect parents, grandparents, and friends and family who have underlying health conditions and who are at greater risk for serious illness and death.
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On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti authorized the shutoff of utilities at a home in the Hollywood Hills where several large parties were held in violation of the city’s COVID-19 social distancing orders. Garcetti said the city’s action comes after multiple warnings from law enforcement were issued. The home was reportedly the so-called Sway House, where Tic-Toc stars Bryce Hall, Noah Beck and Blake Gray were living. One of the events in question was Hall’s 21st birthday party, which attracted a “massive crowd of people who didn’t appear to be wearing masks or social distancing,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
And while younger people have less risk of dying overall, just this week the state lost a teen girl in Orange County COVID-related death. She was the second teen in the state to die due to the effects of the virus. The first was a boy in the Central Valley in July. Both of those patients had preexisting conditions.
While its total deaths from the virus is much greater, Los Angeles County has not seen any deaths of people under the age of 18, but health officials say children between 0 and 4 years old now have the second-highest case rate per 100,000 people of any age cohort, at just over 20.
As students are reporting back to school, officials are keeping an eye on coronavirus cases among children. The state is allowing schools in grades up to sixth to apply for a waiver from all online learning.
California’s Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly, himself a pediatrician, devoted one of his coronavirus briefings this week to the issue of childhood vaccinations.
Among children ages 0-18, he said, “California is running at only two-thirds the vaccination level we were at the same point in 2019.”
Vaccinations are crucial leading into the fall and winter flu season, he noted, and even more so in the midst of a pandemic.
Those pleas are even more resonant given the suspicion that kids could be “super spreaders.” A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children this week should amplify that concern.
The study of 122 children ages 0-22 years old found that kids who tested positive for coronavirus evidenced much higher levels of the virus in their airways than even adult ICU coronavirus patients. And kids were found to be most infectious in their first two days with the virus, when they’re probably not showing ay signs of illness.
On Friday, Los Angeles County health officials reported nine more cases of the pediatric ailment known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C. The new cases lifted the total number of children in L.A. diagnosed with the rare but serious condition to 25.
There have been no deaths reported in the county due to the condition, which affects children who either had COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. The ailment causes inflammation of body parts including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, sometimes resulting in lifelong health affects.
Health officials are still trying to learn what causes the syndrome and how best to treat it.
The state is monitoring all counties on six indicators to determine their progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19. These indicators include testing capacity, how much transmission of the virus is happening in the community, how many people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, and the capacity of hospitals to care for people with COVID-19 with adequate numbers of available Intensive Care Unit beds and ventilators. L.A. County is meeting 5 of the state’s 6 indicators, only failing to meet the threshold of having less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. The case rate per 100,000 people today is 218.
The global coronavirus death toll topped 800,000 as of Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The institute also reported more than 23 million cases worldwide.
The US continues to lead the world in the number of deaths, now with more than 175,000. There are an estimated 5.6 million infections in the country, with some observers believing the number is far greater in untested or unreported cases.