The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported on Thursday that the region had hit a grim new milestone, topping 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. That leaves L.A. trailing only New York City as the region in the U.S. with the highest number of cases.
To date, the Public Health Department has identified 201,106 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 4,869 deaths. On Thursday, the number of new deaths reported in the county from the virus was 48.
On Thursday, the county reported 3,290 new cases of COVID-19. The high number of new cases are, in part, due to a backlog of test results received from one lab, but still may be low.
“Public Health continues to anticipate receiving a backlog of cases once the State electronic laboratory system issues are fixed,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday. More on the reporting issues below.
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That daily case number is up from 2,347 new cases on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, New York had seen 223,473 total cases. That’s roughly 11 percent higher than L.A.’s total. But, once the epicenter of COVID-19 worldwide, New York is in a very different phase of its battle with the virus.
On Tuesday, New York reported 58 new cases. On that same day, Los Angeles public health officials reported 1,901 new cases.
What’s more, California confirmed the following day that case numbers at the state and local levels were being undercounted due to a flaw in the state’s reporting system. So 200,000 total cases is an undercount.
It’s unclear how drastic the undercounts have been, or how long the issue has existed.
California’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, indicated on Tuesday that local officials had seen a drop in case numbers “over the past few days.”
When asked about that timeline, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters, “We don’t believe that it’s something that just happened in the last two or three weeks,” he said. “The state has told us that these reporting problems may have been throughout.”
The new milestone puts Los Angeles County far above other hotspots, such as Miami-Dade, which has reported about 126,000 cases total. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins University, only 4 counties in the country — excluding N.Y. City — have case totals above 100,000. Los Angeles is at the top of that list.
The good news for Los Angeles is that hospitalizations and and coronavirus patients in the ICU are down and have been trending so for days.
There are 1,741 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. The number of hospitalized patients continues to decrease. This number was up to 2,200 patients in the middle of July.
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