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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

LA County coronavirus cases continue to decline

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

During a news conference Wednesday, public officials announced that Los Angeles County continues to see improvements in its efforts to slow the community spread of the coronavirus.

The case rate, however, is still too high for the county to be removed for the state’s monitoring list.

As of Wednesday, the 14-day moving average case rate was 198 infections per 100,000 residents, which is a significant improvement but far short of the benchmark rate of 100 cases per 100,000.

Just a few weeks ago the county had more than 400 cases per 100,000 residents—an indication that the public’s efforts to slow the community spread are having a positive effect.

The county has met all other criteria to be removed from the monitoring list, including adequate ICU capacity, plenty of available ventilators, high levels of testing and a low positivity rate.

The seven-day average positivity rate has come down to five percent after reaching nine percent in early July.

“We do need to continue taking all of the steps that we were taking these past few weeks so that our community transmission rates remain low enough for us to continue our recovery journey. And a very important piece of the recovery journey is getting our children back to school,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

Community spread in Claremont continues to slow, but the county did report new outbreaks in the city. Cumulative cases are 354 in both the city and its unincorporated areas, including Padua Hills.

There have been eight deaths in Claremont, and for the first time the county is reporting one death in the city’s unincorporated areas.

The city still has several institutional outbreaks, including Claremont Manor Retirement Center with positive cases among six staff and two residents; Claremont Place Assisted Living with two staff and one resident; Mt. San Antonio Gardens reports eight staff, 10 residents and one death; Mountain View Center with two staff, 14 residents and one death; Sunrise of Claremont with five staff; and Western Assemblies Home with 13 staff, six residents and one death.

The Claremont Police Department now has five staff testing positive (one case at the police department is not reported because it was from last month); and Therapak, clinical and commercial laboratory supplier located on Wharton Drive, reports 19 employees have tested positive.

Public health continues to survey the county’s skilled nursing facilities to verify compliance with mandated testing, COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. All 341 skilled nursing facilities responded and provided the requested information.

From August 9 through August 15, testing was completed for 12,793 nursing home residents and for 21,581 staff members. The county reports 190 facilities with outbreaks; however, 123 of those did not report any new cases for the survey period. The 21 skilled nursing facilities that reported one or more positive cases, but were below the threshold of being classified as an outbreak, are required to test all their residents and staff to control any outbreak.

A total of 130 facilities did not report any positive test results.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis announced that the fourth round of the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund will launch on August 31, which includes $3.2 million in grants funded by L.A. County,  the city of Los Angeles and Union Bank Foundation.

Micro entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits are eligible for the grants,  which range from $5,000 to $50,000. For more information visit lacovidfund.org or call (833) 238-4450.

As new racial justice protests spread across the country in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by the police, public health is warning about the possibility of spreading the coronavirus at demonstrations.

“For those attending peaceful protests please make sure that you are aware of the risks that come when people from different households gather during this pandemic, even if you are outdoors. Protests can unknowingly result in the transmission of COVID 19,” Ms. Ferrer said.

Public health officials advise protest attendees to heed similar guidelines to those for other large gatherings including: stay home if you are feeling sick, wear a face covering over both your nose and mouth at all times, keep your physical distance by staying more that three steps away from anyone who is not in your household, consider wearing eye protection and keep your hands clean by having hand sanitizer with you.

There are 1,186 people currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus. Thirty-two percent of these people are in the ICU. The number of daily hospitalizations continues to decrease after peaking at 2,200 patients in mid-July.

Testing results are available for nearly 2,221,000 individuals, with 10 percent of all people testing positive. The county reports 235,368 cumulative cases of the coronavirus and 5,663 deaths.

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