3,518 coronavirus cases reported in LA County, death count rises to 65

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County spiked to 3,518 on Wednesday, according to the county's public health department.

The county also reported an additional 11 deaths as a result of COVID-19, bringing the death count up to 65.

Nine of the 11 new deaths were individuals over the age of 65, according to Public Health. Of those, seven had underlying health conditions.

The other two deaths were an individual between the ages of 18 and 40 and an individual between the ages of 41 and 65, both of which had underlying health conditions.

More than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the county in the past 48 hours, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, with 513 new cases reported Wednesday.

Ferrer reminded the public that the number of confirmed cases in the county will continue to go up as medical professionals have the ability to test more patients.

To date, more than 21,000 people in the county have been tested for COVID-19, Ferrer said.

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Out of the confirmed cases in the county, Ferrer said that 733 individuals have been hospitalized at some point during their battle with the virus, which makes up approximately 21% of all cases.

Public Health stated that thus far, five individuals experiencing homelessness in the county have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Ferrer stressed to the public that while a majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions, not everyone does. She urged residents to continue to take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from the virus.

She said that social distancing remains our best defense against the virus, and urges all residents to abide by current measures in place across the state.

Social distancing is not only about preventing the illness itself, but rather, slowing the rate at which people get sick. 

Public Health requests that anyone who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for the 14-day quarantine period in order to help slow the spread.

In accordance with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health said that anyone who begins to experience symptoms must contact those they were in contact with up to 48 hours prior to having symptoms in order for them to self-isolate.

This comes as more evidence is emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. On Wednesday, the CDC changed how it was defining risk of infection for Americans, saying anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

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Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread:

"If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick."