After some concerning COVID-19 numbers in Los Angeles County last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated today that the state has engaged the county over specific concerns about L.A.’s progress.
Detailing at length the ways in which the state as a whole is doing well, Newsom said different areas have different needs, . “One size does not fit all.”
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Apropos of that, California currently has “13 counties where we have targeted engagement” because there are concerns about progress there.
This is part of the state’s three-step strategy for making sure counties keep their coronavirus mitigation commitments. Step One: “52 of 58 counties have put out self-attestations,” said Newsom, stating that their COVID-19 data was at acceptable levels.
For those counties who attest but cannot maintain the designated coronavirus numbers, the state will step in to help with “targeted engagement” (Step 2). That means the state will work with the county on the specific areas that are outside acceptable levels.
Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly got more specific about those counties being engaged.
He showed a chart, which included Los Angeles County and indicated that “these are counties where we had some concern about the data.”
On that chart, the “case rate per 100,000” in Los Angeles County was 162.5. At least 6 other counties had troubling case rate numbers, as well.
The state’s monitoring requirements say, “a county is flagged for (having) elevated disease transmission” if the case rate per 100,000 is greater than 100. That means Los Angeles County, with a case rate of 162 per 100,000, subject to “targeted engagement” from the state.
One day after the state crossed the grim milestones of 5,000 confirmed deaths and 150,000 identified cases, Newsom reminded that recovery from the pandemic will not be a straight line and may require adjustments to procedures and restrictions (Step 3 in the state’s mitigation process).
“We are using a dimmer switch, not an on/off switch,” said Newsom.
The governor went on to cite, success after success in the state’s response and planning, including capacity in terms of hospitals, capacity in terms of testing and capacity in terms of PPE.
He said testing has increased and total numbers of positivity have increased as well, but the positivity rate has come down.
Newsom said the R rate has “remained stable” over the past few weeks. Hospital rates as well. The ICU numbers “remain stable.”
Increase in hospitalization rate of .4% yesterday, but a decline of 3.3% the day before that.
He said “we have capacity in our ICU system to address the needs of COVID patients.” Over 11 thousand ventilators are available.
“We have a state that is holding strong. The stability remains,” he said, “But we realize those numbers are in the aggregate,” and certain areas will need special attention.
“We are not out of the woods,” said Newsom
This comes as Los Angeles County has recorded three of the highest spikes in new cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were 1633 new cases in L.A. county as of Friday, according to the health department. That’s the third-highest one day total since the outbreak began, according the L.A. county coronavirus dashboard. Ferrer said that Friday’s number included 500 delayed cases from one lab.
Lab delays have occurred nearly every week during the pandemic. Adding delayed numbers into the daily total has been commonplace for the county health department which means that, while not all days have delayed numbers, enough do for these record highs to seem significant.
Friday’s number also did not include new cases from Pasadena and Long Beach, which have their own health departments. On Thursday, their combined total of new cases was 84.
The new data brings the total confirmed cases in L.A. County to 70,475.
On Thursday, the county Department of Public Health reported 1,857 new confirmed coronavirus cases. It was the largest single-day number of new cases announced by the county during the pandemic, but health officials said, again, roughly 600 of those cases were the result of a backlog in the reporting of test results. Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own health departments, combined to confirm an additional 84 cases. That gave the county 1,941 new confirmed cases total on Thursday.
The spiking numbers come about 2 weeks after the region’s stay-at-home order was modified, and after recent large gatherings at protests.