Los Angeles County exceeds 22,000 coronavirus deaths

More than 22,000 Los Angeles County residents have now died from COVID-19, public health officials announced Saturday.

There were 1,823 new cases of COVID-19 and 98 new deaths reported Saturday, bringing the county’s totals to 1,201,866 positive cases and 22,008 deaths, the county’s Department of Public Health said in a news release.

“Today’s grim millstone reminds us of the human toll of this pandemic and how actions affect cases, hospitalizations and deaths several weeks from now,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a written statement.

Although the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been falling in recent weeks, L.A. County is still regularly topping 100 deaths per day.

The nation’s most populous county saw its peak in early January, with an average of about 15,000 new cases a day during the first week of the year. Over the past week, L.A. County has averaged about 1,500 reported cases a day — the lowest level since early November.

“As we move into spring and temperatures in Los Angeles County warm up, many people will be out of taking advantage of our beautiful county,” Ferrer said. “I ask you do so responsibly by avoiding large gatherings and crowds, always wearing your mask, and at this time, postponing non-essential travel.”

There were 1,264 people hospitalized with the virus in L.A. County Saturday, 29% of whom were in intensive care units. That’s less than half the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 two weeks ago.

L.A. County also reported 16 new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, in children. That brings the county’s total cases to 116 children, including one death.

All 116 children with MIS-C in L.A. County were hospitalized, and 41% of them were treated in an intensive care unit.

MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19, and symptoms include fever that does not go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Meanwhile the county’s mass COVID-19 vaccination effort is underway with more than 2.4 million doses administered as of Friday, and more than 814,000 people fully vaccinated.

L.A. County expects to receive nearly 313,000 doses this coming week, with 62% of them going towards first doses, according to the county’s vaccination chief, Dr. Paul Simon. That compares to some 280,000 doses handed out this week, but is still far below the 600,000 appointments the county says it has the capacity for in a week.

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