L.A. County Reports 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Highlights Headspace Partnership

Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles April 17 2020

During California Gov. Gavin Newsom's updates on the state's responses to the COVID-19 outbreak on Friday, he said he's "days, not weeks" from announcing major modifications to the state's strict safer-at-home orders.

Los Angeles County on Friday recorded 62 more fatalities and 1,065 newly diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus.

L.A. County Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced the new coronavirus numbers during her daily briefing held downtown at the Board of Supervisors headquarters. A total of 1,172 county residents have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and the total number of positive cases for L.A. County reached 24,215. The national figure for cases is over 1 million, with a death count over 64,000. 

Ferrer also noted an update to the CDC's guidance for how long a person who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate. The former isolation period was seven days and 72 hours after fever and symptoms had subsided. The CDC now advises those who test positive to isolate for 10 days and 72 hours. 

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger shared on Friday that Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based in La Cañada Flintridge, has designed a new ventilator that needs only 100 parts versus a traditional ventilator's 1,000 parts, to function. Barger noted that JPL is now offering a blueprint and license for its ventilator design for free so anyone interested may manufacture "this critical equipment."

"Thank you for the rocket scientists and staff at JPL who are using their vast skills and knowledge for a noble cause during this public health crisis," Barger added. 

Barger also reminded L.A. county residents of a partnership between L.A. County and Headspace, coinciding with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, that offers free premium access to the meditation/mindfulness app for the rest of the year. Sign ups are available at headspace.com/lacounty.

During California Gov. Gavin Newsom's update on the state's responses to the COVID-19 outbreak on Friday, he said he's "days, not weeks" from announcing major modifications to the state's strict safer-at-home orders. He did not get into specifics but said that changes would affect sectors including retail, hospitality, restaurants and the like, and that it would provide some relief to those antsy to reopen. When asked about critics who claim he's acted as a "tyrant" in not easing restrictions and ordering Orange County beaches closed, Newsom said, "I appreciate expression. I appreciate points of view. We have that with our staff. I believe in the Socratic method," he said. "That's the way we conduct ourselves. We're not ideological. We're open to argument, and we're interested in evidence."

Newsom also offered new state statistics for COVID-19, noting California has 50,442 confirmed cases, a 3.1 percent rise from Thursday. 3,428 of those cases are in hospitals and 1,192 of the cases are in the ICU. California's death count for COVID-19 is 2,073, according to Newsom's update.

As for Ferrer's updates, she said that of the 1,169 deaths reported in L.A. County for which ethnicity data was available, 1 percent were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 13 percent were African American, 19 percent Asian, 38 percent Latino, 29 percent white and and 1 percent identified with another race or ethnicity. There are also 182 cases confirmed among those experiencing homelessness in L.A. County. 

The number of institutional investigations has continued to rise, now reaching 316 facilities including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, treatment centers, correctional facilities and so on, all of which have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Across those, there are 5,658 confirmed cases and 564 deaths.