LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County Wednesday reported 2,129 new coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths, bringing the totals to 77,189 cases and 2,991 deaths.
This is the highest number of daily new cases the county has reported since the beginning of the pandemic, however, county Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, attributed roughly 600 of the new cases to a backlog reporting error by a hospital.
Of the newly reported deaths, 23 were individuals over the age of 65, 17 of which had underlying health conditions. Seven individuals were between the ages of 41 and 65, 4 of which had underlying health conditions. Two people who died, both with underlying health conditions, were between the ages of 18 and 40, health officials said.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department lists specific information regarding COVID-19 deaths, including the race and ethnicity data associated with those deaths, on its website.
Approximately 93% of all county 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.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the list of symptoms of the virus. The list now includes, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, a new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting as well as diarrhea.
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.
There are 1,420 individuals currently hospitalized in the county with the virus, according to Public Health.
Testing capacity continues to increase in LA County, with testing results available for nearly 853,000 individuals and 8% of people testing positive.
While LA County officials have not released data on the number of COVID-19 patients that have recovered from the virus within the county, John's Hopkins University reports that more than 583,000 patients have recovered nationwide.
A revised health order took effect Friday that allows a wider array of businesses and attractions to reopen in LA County.
Among the newly announced businesses permitted to reopen were gyms, museums, galleries, zoos, campgrounds, hotels, day camps, professional sports arenas without spectators as well as music, film and television production.
Movie theaters are not included in the new order, even though the state has released protocols allowing them to reopen if individual counties approve.
County health officials noted that public-safety restrictions will be in place at all reopening businesses, including mandates for wearing face coverings and requiring social distancing.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer stressed over the last week that the reopening of more business sectors should not be seen as an indication the county is out of the woods in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, noting, "We're still in the middle of the woods and we have a lot of risk."
She said it will remain important for residents to adhere to the health restrictions when visiting any reopened business, and for the businesses themselves to enforce them.
Public Health continues to stress to 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.
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.
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.
On April 3, the CDC announced that it would be recommending people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
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.
This comes as more evidence is emerging that 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.
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.
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CNS contributed to this report.