LOS ANGELES - Public health officials in Los Angeles County on Wednesday announced three additional coronavirus deaths in the county as well as 138 new cases, bringing the county's total number of confirmed cases up to 799.
All three newly reported deaths were individuals over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
This brings the total number of deaths in the county to 13. Ferrer stated that they are no longer including the death of a 17-year-old boy in Lancaster, that Public Health reported Tuesday, because they requested an additional investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Coronavirus death toll rises to 11 in LA County, including 1 under age of 18
• Health officials backtrack on announcement Lancaster teen died of COVID-19
• Lancaster teen dies from coronavirus: health officials
Ferrer said that there have been 266 new positive cases in the last 48 hours. She added that the county will continue to see increased numbers of confirmed cases as medical professionals have the ability to test more people.
As of Tuesday, Ferrer said that more than 6,300 individuals were tested for COVID-19 in the county. Out of those who have been tested, only 11% tested positive.
Out of all the positive cases in the county, Ferrer said that 80% were individuals between the ages of 18 and 65.
Twenty percent of all positive cases required hospitalization at some point, Ferrer added. There are currently 44 people in the county hospitalized due to COVID-19. Out of those 44 people, 77% are currently in the intensive care unit. Sixty percent of the individuals in the ICU are over the age of 60.
One percent of people in the county who have tested positive for COVID-19 have passed away, while the mortality rate for the U.S. is 1.5%.
"That’s a higher rate than what we experience annually for influenza,” Ferrer said.
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.
"Every person can infect 2 to 3 people," Ferrer said.
Additionally, public health officials are investigating 12 institutional settings for possible outbreaks, primarily nursing home settings, Ferrer said, adding that one of the locations is a group home.
Ferrer said that if there were three or more confirmed cases at any of those institutional settings, they would specifically identify them.
According to Ferrer, the county's health officer will issue an order "that requires the self-isolation of any person that has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed by their physician or clinician to be positive for COVID-19."
The order also requires a 14-day quarantine for all close contacts of a confirmed or presumed COVID-19 patient, including household members and caregivers.
"So if you've been tested for COVID-19 and you're waiting for your test results or you've been told by a provider that you should presume that you're positive for COVID-19, we ask that you follow the directives to self-isolate. This means staying at home for at least seven days and until you're fever- and symptom-free for 72 hours. Do not leave your home. Please do not leave your home unless it's for a medical appointment," Ferrer said.
"We ask that you notify all of your close contacts that you have COVID-19 or are likely to have COVID-19 so your close contacts can in fact begin their quarantine," she said.
According to Ferrer, the order requires any such close contacts to immediately begin a 14-day quarantine period.
"It's really important that people understand -- 14 days is what's required because it can take up to 14 days for you to develop any symptoms of COVID-19 from your exposure," Ferrer said. "If you develop symptoms, you immediately move into needing now to be isolated and you have an additional seven days that you must stay isolated, and that includes you must be three days free from fever and symptoms before you can in fact leave your household."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates
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."