LA County reports highest number of COVID-19 deaths in single day as county cases surpass 10,000

Los Angeles County on Tuesday reported its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day, as the number of confirmed cases in the county surpassed 10,000.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced 40 new deaths since Monday. Of those, 25 individuals were over the age of 65, 17 of which had underlying health conditions. Nine individuals were between the ages of 41 and 65, five of which had underlying health conditions. The information about the remaining six deaths was not immediately available, Ferrer said.

The county also reported 670 new COVID-19 cases, only a day after the county reported its lowest number of daily new cases since March 26, with only 239 cases reported Monday.

Ferrer said that the low numbers on Monday were likely due to limited testing over the weekend. She also said that the county expects to see higher numbers throughout the week.

More than 63,000 people in the county have been tested in for COVID-19, and 11% of those tested have been positive, Ferrer said.

The total number of confirmed cases in the county now stands at 10,047.

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The new figures released Tuesday came amid a growing national discussion about when stay-at-home and other health department orders might be lifted, allowing people to go back to work and non-essential businesses to reopen. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a series of six goals the state will have to meet before any consideration is given to lifting health orders. Ferrer listed four indicators being eyed by county officials -- generally mirroring those discussed by Newsom.

RELATED: Newsom: 6 steps must be achieved before relaxing stay-at-home order in California

But like Newsom, Ferrer warned that a lifting of orders is not on the immediate horizon. 

"We're not yet on the other side of this pandemic, and we've all worked together amidst many difficulties and challenges to find ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19," she said. "But we're going to need to keep up our efforts to avoid a surge in cases that will overwhelm our hospitals. We don't want to lose ground. For L.A. residents, this means we need to keep doing what we're doing. We need to stay home, we need to physically distance, we need to use our cloth face coverings when we're out and we need to self-isolate and self-quarantine when ordered to do so."

"These tools are essential now and they will remain essential as part of our toolkit until we have therapeutic medicines and a vaccine," she said.

Ferrer said the four areas that will be considered by county health officials before relaxing stay-at-home and business-closure orders are:

• Ensuring the county has adequate health care services available for the sick while also ensuring resources for preventive care such as immunizations and dental services, and also ensuring health care workers have needed personal protective equipment.

• Ensuring resources are available to adequately protect the most vulnerable populations from coronavirus, such as the elderly, people in nursing homes and people with underlying health conditions.

• Expanding the availability of coronavirus testing, and also providing space for people to safely quarantine or isolate from others, particularly if people under such orders are unable to do so in their own homes.

• Ensuring that when businesses are allowed to reopen as the pandemic recedes, they have plans in place to continue maintaining social distancing to prevent a new spike in cases.

"Reopening safely will be different for different business sectors, and we're looking forward to working with all of these sectors over the next few weeks to create directives that ensure the safety of workers and customers when we get to the other side," Ferrer said.

Echoing guidance from the White House, last week, Ferrer said people should try to avoid leaving their homes altogether for the next few weeks as the pandemic is expected to worsen across the country. 

"If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether," she said.

RELATED: Health officials advice to avoid grocery stores, pharmacies as peak of COVID-19 pandemic looms

Public Health advised residents against leaving their homes for groceries or medications, encouraging residents to arrange to have them delivered instead, if necessary.

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. 

On April 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.

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

RELATED: LA County extends safer-at-home order, business-closure orders to May 15

Last week, the county extended its "safer-at-home" order until May 15. The health order now requires all residents in Los Angeles County to wear a face-covering when entering an essential business. It also requires all essential business employees to wear a face-covering if their work involves interacting with others.

This comes as more evidence is emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. Recently, 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

In accordance with new guidelines from the CDC, Public Health said that anyone who begins to experience symptoms must contact those they were in contact with up to 48 hours prior to having symptoms in order for them to self-isolate.

Public Health requests that anyone who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for the 14-day quarantine period in order to help slow the spread.

On Monday, Ferrer clarified for the public that those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, those who have symptoms and those who are waiting for test results need to self-isolate for seven days and an additional 72-hours after fever and symptoms subside.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. 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.

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

Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread:

"If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick."

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

CNS contributed to this report.