In 145 days, 176,028 Los Angeles County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 4,375 have died

It's been 145 days since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in Los Angeles County. In that time, 176,028 people have tested positive for the virus and 4,375 have died.

On Monday, the county reported 2,039 new coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths. County health officials noted that the numbers reported on Monday's tend to be lower due to a lag in reporting from hospitals over the weekend.

Hospitalizations have been an area of concern in recent weeks, with the number topping 2,200 in Los Angeles County for five consecutive days last week, the highest levels of the pandemic. On Monday, county health officials reported 2,017 patients are currently hospitalized with the virus, noting that 29% are in the Intensive Care Unit and 18% are on ventilators.

County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, introduced "three new Cs" Monday, which included compliance, containment and collaboration. 

Ferrer said that compliance requires all residents and businesses follow public health orders, including wearing a face covering in public and physical distancing. “Compliance really is about everyone doing their part," she explained.

Containment is achieved through testing, case interviews and contact tracing, according to Ferrer. “This is a critical tool but relies on our residents trusting us and informing us about critical information,” she said.

The last "C," collaboration, refers to working collaboratively across all sectors of government and business sectors. because the virus "knows no borders," said Ferrer.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

She also again stressed that younger residents are driving the recent increase in cases, noting that since May, the majority of new cases have occurred in people aged 18-49. She said the 18-to-29 age group "is accounting for a sharply increasing percentage of cases," while "all the other age groups are either flat or decreasing slightly."

It's that younger group that can be increasingly difficult to reach, with officials noting in recent weeks that younger residents are more likely to be gathering in groups, holding parties or generally believing they are not vulnerable to the virus.

Ferrer has repeatedly warned that while young people may not be in danger of falling dramatically ill due to the virus, they can easily spread it to people who are.

She conceded some frustration among some residents at the changing nature of health restrictions as the pandemic has progressed, but said adjustments were made as more was learned about the new virus, and more changes are possible in the future.

"I'm the first one to admit, you know, how wrong we were when we thought there wasn't a lot of asymptomatic spread, and how wrong we were when we didn't think that masking up, wearing cloth face coverings, was going to afford a lot of protection," she said. "As we move through, I keep top of mind as we continue to learn more about this virus we have to make other adjustments in the future, and that's just the path that we're on."

"... Right now we're laser-focused on making sure that people understand that we have some tools at hand that allow us to slow the spread. We also know now without a doubt that wearing face coverings really helps protect other people and may in fact protect the wearer."

" ... We've learned. The science is catching up to being able to help us as we produce directives and guidance and as we move forward, we have to take every opportunity to take whatever tools we have right now. Use them to our full capacity to slow the spread. There will be more tools in the future and that will change what we're able to do or not able to do. I am hopeful around changes that will happen around testing ... and I'm very hopeful about there being therapeutics and a vaccine."

Officials said it's important that people who think they could be positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results to stay at home and act as if they are positive. This means self-isolating for 10 days and 24 hours after symptoms and fever subside. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should plan on receiving a call from a public health specialist to discuss how to protect themselves and others, to find out where they have been, and who they were in close contact with while infectious.
RELATED: LA County opens 3 new COVID-19 sites in 'high-need' areas

The county on Monday opened three new COVID-19 testing sites in the "high-need areas" of Montebello, South Gate and Panorama City. By the end of the week, these additional sites will have the capacity to test almost 2,000 residents a day, five days a week, according to the county's Emergency Operations Center.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the list of symptoms of the virus. Congestion or runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea were added, joining the federal agency's list that already included fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell and sore throat.

RELATED: CDC adds another 3 new coronavirus symptoms to the list

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

On June 18, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines mandating face coverings in most situations while indoors, but also outside when a person cannot maintain six feet of social distance.

RELATED: California governor orders people to wear masks in most indoor spaces

There are exemptions that include children age two and younger because of the risk of suffocation, and for people with a variety of medical or psychological issues that make mask-wearing a hazard.

The use of face coverings is believed to help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, without knowing it, from transmitting it to others.

The face coverings can be made at home from common materials at low cost, and the CDC has instructions on how to make them listed on its website

Public Health continues to remind the public that while a majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions, not everyone does. Residents are urged to continue to take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from the virus.

In LA County, approximately 92% of all residents who died from the virus had underlying health conditions. Ferrer said this emphasizes the county's need to protect those with underlying health conditions and urges those residents to stay at home as much as possible.

She said this includes, but is not limited to, individuals with asthma, those who have had cancer, anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and anyone who is immune-compromised.

"If you're part of one of these groups, you need to take every precaution imaginable to protect yourself from COVID-19," said Ferrer.

Health officials say that social distancing remains our best defense against the virus, and all residents are instructed to abide by current measures in place across the state. Social distancing is not only about preventing the illness itself, but rather, slowing the rate at which people get sick. 

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information 

The county's health department says that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of widespread transmission, everyone should always wear a face-covering securely over their nose and mouth and keep six feet apart from others not in their household when out and about.

Health officials say coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. In early April, the CDC changed how it was defining risk of infection for Americans, saying anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.

RELATED: Asymptomatic coronavirus cases appear to be on the rise in China, report says

Public Health says that the best protection against COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.

Click here for a list of locations of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.

RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

CNS contributed to this report.