L.A. County Says Coronavirus Cases Undercounted Amid Glitch, Confirms It Won’t Grant Waivers For Schools To Reopen

Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles skyline, Kirby Lee via AP Images

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that the region comprising the City of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Long Beach has 1,901 confirmed new cases of coronavirus and 57 new deaths over the past 24 hours. Those numbers will likely rise however, the agency warned today, after confirming that the county was among those impacted by tech issues with the electronic laboratory system that has resulted in undercounts across the state.

“The department has implemented an independent strategy to obtain accurate data and a team from the department is now working urgently to reach out to at least 81 labs to obtain all COVID-19 test results from July 26 to the present to determine the accurate positive case count in Los Angeles County for the time period in question,” Public Health officials said in a press release today, noting it had flagged issues with the reporting for the past two weeks.

Also on Tuesday, the county health department said it would not grant waivers for schools to reopen in-classroom instruction for students from transitional kindergarten to sixth grade. It is following the state’s recommendations that counties with case rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents aren’t eligible. “Los Angeles County’s case rate currently is 355 per 100,000 and we will not be considering waiver applications, at this point in time,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said today.

LA Unified School District schools will begin its 2020-21 academic year virtually August 18.

As for the data-reporting glitch, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly confirmed the issues earlier in the day, following an emergency call convened by the state Monday night. L.A. County Public Health said that the glitches should not delay patients being notified of lab results, as laboratories report those directly to providers and hospitals. It also does not impact hospitalization counts.

As of today, the health department has identified 195,614 positive cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County, with the death toll from the virus regionally at 4,758. There are now 1,757 confirmed COVID cases hospitalized regionwide, down again from the 2,000 range reported last week. A total of 31% of these currently in hospitals are in ICUs.

L.A. County Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday that the closure of bars and elimination of indoor dining, along with cooperation from residents, have slowed the illness’s spread, pointing to the declines in hospitalization numbers, which had been averaging around 2,200 patients a day in mid-July.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/08/los-angeles-coronavirus-cases-glitch-reporting-school-waivers-denied-1203004318/