LOS ANGELES, CA, Aug 16 – Today, Public Health reported 13 additional deaths and 2,535 new positive cases. Of the 13 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 18-29, one person was between the ages of 30-49, three people were between the ages of 50-64, four people were between the ages of 65-79, and four people were aged 80 years or older. Of the 13 newly reported deaths, 11 had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 32,961.
Public Health has reported a total of 3,363,706 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 10.4%.
There are 1,022 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,407,063 individuals, with 24% of people testing positive.
While COVID-19 case rates are declining and LA County entered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) medium community level, knowing your health status remains key to slowing the spread in schools, workplaces, and homes.
Residents should get tested when: they have been exposed, have symptoms, before and after gatherings, and when they travel. Residents who test positive, even with an at-home test, need to isolate to avoid infecting others. Residents who test negative but have symptoms should remain home and test again in 24-48 hours to be sure they aren’t infected.
If a test is still negative, but a person remains ill, they may have another virus/illness. Anyone with symptoms should remain home until they are fever free, and symptoms are resolving. Individuals should call their provider if they have concerns about their illness. If an individual does not have a provider, they can call 2-1-1 to get connected to care.
Free over-the-counter (OTC) tests can be picked up at Department of Public Health vaccination sites and at a variety of locations and partners. Currently, free OTC tests are being distributed at the seven Public Health PODs.
To date, 18,816,372 at-home OTC tests have been distributed county-wide by Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, and the CDC, with many test kits distributed by schools and community partners in communities hard hit by the pandemic. Last week, Public Health distributed 313,780 test kits to partners across numerous sectors, including, but not limited to, 216,000 tests to skilled nursing facilities, 34,000 to community clinics and pharmacies, 19,000 to LA County libraries, 12,600 to early childhood education locations, and 10,000 to community-based organizations.
As schools reopen, 62 public school districts, plus 203 private and charter schools have testing programs in place. Other K-12 schools who need support with their testing capacity can reach out to Public Health at ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov.
There are many FDA-approved rapid OTC tests that can be used for self-testing at home, at a business, or at other community settings. These OTC antigen tests provide results in a few minutes, as opposed to laboratory-based PCR tests that may take several days to process.
Additionally, at-home tests can be ordered at no charge from the federal government at www.covidtests.gov. Residents who have health insurance can receive eight free at-home tests each month for each insured member in their household.
If you purchase an OTC test from a pharmacy, store, or online retailer and are charged for your test, keep your receipt, and submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Individuals with any questions should talk with their health care provider to make sure they understand their viral test results and any next steps. Those without easy access to a health care provider who have questions about their test result and what to do next, can call the Public Health COVID-19 information line at 1-833-540-0473, seven days a week, 8:00 am to 8:30 pm.
“I send my deepest sympathies and wishes of peace and comfort to the many families who have lost a loved one from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “During this time of elevated community transmission, testing when appropriate can help slow the spread by identifying those individuals who are infected in a timely way so they can limit exposing others to the virus. We are hoping that all school children are testing either before going back to school or in the first week of school to avoid unnecessary spread on school campuses. Students participating in certain extracurricular activities that are associated with elevated risk of viral spread, including medium and high contact indoor sports and indoor performing arts, may want to test weekly during times of elevated transmission, to reduce viral spread. Those returning from travel may also want to test themselves before heading to work, or out in the community, to be sure they didn’t bring back the virus along with their great vacation memories. And those gathering indoors should also test before getting together, particularly if gathering with others at high risk for severe illness should they become infected. Taking sensible steps to reduce risk for others benefits everyone as it diminishes the disruptions and heartache associated with COVID-19.”