LA County reports another 108 deaths from COVID-19

Los Angeles County reported 11,366 new cases of COVID-19 and 108 additional deaths today, bringing the county’s totals to 1,014,662 cases and 13,848 fatalities.

County health officials said the number of new cases reported Sunday reflects an undercount due to a lag from weekend reporting.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals dropped from 7,597 Saturday to 7,498, with 23% in the ICU. After peaking at just over 8,000, hospitalizations have been inching downward in recent days.

The county has a total of about 2,500 licensed ICU beds.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom, in an individual who recently spent time in Los Angeles County. The individual is a male who traveled to Oregon, where he is currently isolating.

The variant was confirmed by Quest Laboratories in Washington state.

Although it is the first confirmed case of the variant in Los Angeles County, public health officials here believe that the new, more contagious strain is already spreading in the community, and are continuing to test samples.

“The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our health care system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, five-times what we experienced over the summer. This more contagious variant makes it easier for infections to spread at worksites, at stores, and in our homes.”

The new strain does not make people sicker, but it is transmitted much more easily, meaning it can rapidly spread through the population.

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