LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials reported Wednesday that 324 healthcare workers in Los Angeles County have so far tested positive for coronavirus, two of which have died.
The announcement came as L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer confirmed in her daily briefing that there were 620 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours and 29 new deaths countywide.
That brings L.A. County’s total to 7,530 cases and 198 deaths. The mortality rate has risen to 2.6 percent, up from 2.4 percent Tuesday.
Ferrer said that of the 324 healthcare workers who have tested positive, approximately 58 percent worked in hospitals, 16 percent worked in outpatient facilities and 6 percent worked in emergency medical services.
She said nurses were most likely to test positive, followed by physician, EMS paramedics and then EMTs.
There has been a major nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) among healthcare workers. On Tuesday night, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state had signed contracts with manufacturers and nonprofits to obtain about 200 million masks a month out of Asia. That includes 150 million N95 masks and 50 million surgical masks.
Meanwhile, of the 29 new death, 17 of the victims were over the age of 65, with 16 of those having underlying health conditions.
One person was between the ages of 18 and 40, also with underlying conditions. Seven were between the ages of 41 and 65, five of whom had underlying conditions.
Information was not immediately for the other four victims, Ferrer said.
1,033 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in L.A. County. 17 percent of those are under the age of 45, Ferrer said.
At least 36,500 people have been tested. However, Ferrer noted that there has been an increase in testing sites in recent days and there is a lag in reporting, which means those numbers will likely spike dramatically.
“The last few days…there’s been a dramatic increase in testing sites and the availability of testing,” Ferrer said. “Our numbers will not reflect this for a few days because we won’t have those test results back yet.”
The county is hoping to reach a goal of testing 10,000 people per day.
There have been 596 cases reported at 131 different “institutional settings,” which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, jails, prisons, homeless shelters, treatment centers and supporting living facilities.
There are 12 cases among the county’s homeless population. There are also 43 confirmed cases in L.A. County jail facilities, and another 10 in state prisons.