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The latest COVID-19 briefing from Los Angeles County officials indicates that there have been 35 additional fatalities and 1,072 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases.
L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reported that, among the new deaths, 25 people were over the age of 65 and 20 of them had underlying health conditions. Meanwhile, five were between the ages of 40 and 46 and three had underlying health issues.
The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in L.A. County is now 2,049. Among that figure, 93 percent of people who have died had underlying health conditions, a slight increase from reports during the last few weeks.
Ferrer emphasized that 35 percent of L.A. County residents have underlying health conditions, noting that it’s one out of three people who are at elevated risk. “Stay home as much as possible,” Ferrer said, adding that those who have symptoms should call 211 to be connected to a health official.
Looking to Memorial Day, Kathryn Barger, chair of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, said that guidelines have been issued to enable vehicle parades and school districts may host innovative ceremonies if they present plans that allow for safe social distancing.
Among the new openings in the County, Barger noted that beach bike paths are now available for use and indoor malls can open for curbside service. She emphasized that cloth masks must be worn during those activities.
There are currently 42,052 confirmed cases in L.A. County, with 326 cases among the homeless population; 6,093 people who tested positive were at some point hospitalized during their treatment. Ferrer noted that 25 percent of people hospitalized are in ICU and every day there has been a decrease in number of people hospitalized.
She went on to say that a quarter of cases concern people who live in institutional settings, and 1,081 have died. Among that group, the majority lived in skilled nursing settings.
There are 693 new cases in jail facilities, with 153 among staff members.
During Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Friday news briefing to discuss the latest on the coronavirus crisis in California, he announced the state’s launch of a contact tracing program called California Connected. Public health workers will be contacting California residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as people they’ve been in close contact with to make sure they have access to testing, according to the governor.
Newsom said the goal is to train up to at least 10,000 people for the program. He also announced that by Monday, guidelines would be available for in-person religious services.
The governor recently received a formal warning from the United States Justice Department over church closures, with federal attorneys warning him that prolonged church closures could violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
On Thursday, Newsom told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that worshippers would be allowed to return to churches within weeks — referring to the third stage of his reopening plan. The plan allows for “high-risk” businesses to open, such as gyms, hair salons and other personal care services. Newsom stated Monday that the state will move into Stage 3 in early June.
Toward the end of her report, Ferrer emphasized the urgency of wearing cloth face masks when outside, and continuing to practice safe social distancing of at least six feet.
Looking ahead, briefings will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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