Covid-19: One person is dying from virus every 10 minutes in Los Angeles County, health director says

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“A person now dies every 10 minutes in L.A. County from COVID-19,” Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, “and since many of these deaths are preventable our collective focus should be on doing right to save lives.”

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Thursday news release, there are about 6,500 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the county, 20% of whom are in intensive care units — a pandemic high. In the last week alone, the department said, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals has increased by more than 1,600.

“I hope we can each find the strength and courage to take responsibility for each other’s well-being,” Ferrer said, urging Southern Californians to follow public health guidelines like staying home and wearing a mask while out in public. “These are the only tools that will work right now.”

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Most of the state remains under stay at home orders triggered by a region’s ICU capacity falling below 15%. According to the state Department of Public Health, ICU bed capacity in both the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions are at 0%, and its likely the stay home orders will be extended for most of the state.

Statewide there were 351 deaths reported Thursday — the third highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day — bringing California’s death toll to 23,635, per public health officials.

The state recorded more than 39,000 new cases on Thursday. This week it became the first state to surpass 2 million Covid-19 cases — “a sobering milestone,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

“Hospitals are full, ICU beds are few, people are dying,” Ghaly said in a news release. “The simplest thing we can do, but also the most significant, is to stay home. We are the first line of defense against this virus and we must act now.”