Over 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in LA County, including 586 in Long Beach

More than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, with a third of those fatalities coming just since Dec. 30, health officials said today.

The 269 new coronavirus deaths reported across LA County Saturday pushed the region to 15,162 total, including 586 in Long Beach.

Those numbers mean approximately 1 out of every 790 Long Beach residents have succumbed to the virus. For LA County as a whole, that number is 1 in about 660.

About a third of Long Beach’s coronavirus deaths have come since Dec. 30.

“We wish healing and peace to everyone mourning a loved one lost to COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, LA County’s public health director said in a statement. “Many people continue to spread this virus and, tragically, now more than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.”

There have been some hopeful signs recently that the surge of infections, which led to so many deaths, is slowing.

County officials on Friday said the seven-day average of new daily cases has decreased 30% compared to the previous week, and the testing positivity rate has dropped to 12.7% from 20.8% on Jan. 1.

However, that’s still a far cry from the 3.8% positivity rate on Nov. 1 before the current surge began.

With 6,881 people hospitalized for COVID-19 across the county today, that number dropped below 7,000 for the first time since Dec. 29, health officials said. Long Beach has followed a similar trajectory, with 474 coronavirus patients in local hospitals compared to the peak of 581 on Jan. 12.

“While we are seeing some positive data in daily new cases and hospitalizations, we are far from out of the woods,” Ferrer said. “It is critically important we slow COVID-19 spread to decompress the strain on our healthcare system and save lives.”

Although there are still beds available in ICUs, officials say they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The state’s adjusted formula, which is weighted to show the larger strain from coronavirus patients, still has the Southern California ICU capacity at 0%.

The region is still under the governor’s stay-at-home order, and it’s unclear when it could emerge because the state has refused to reveal how it calculates its projections about when ICU capacity will recover to manageable levels.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.