By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Thursday reported 1,745 newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 19 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 305,070 cases and 7,044 deaths.

A woman about to take her test goes over details on her paperwork with a volunteer at a pop-up Covid-19 Test site in Los Angeles on Oct. 29 (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Of the 19 new deaths reported, five people were over the age of 80, eight were between the ages of 65 and 79, two were between the ages of 50 and 64 and one was between the ages of 30 and 49. Thirteen people who died had underlying health conditions.

Health officials said Thursday’s case count was the highest number of new cases reported since late-August not associated with a backlog.

“The high numbers of daily cases are very concerning because, as we have seen in the past, increases in cases lead to increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “These increases impede our ability to move forward with re-opening additional sectors and getting more children back to school.”

There were 750 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 31% of whom were being treated in intensive care units. Officials said the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations had remained stable for most of September and October.

The health department also announced that it has dedicated a team of specialists to provide technical assistance and disease management to all schools that have reopened or are in the process of reopening for students with high-needs, students in grades TK-2, childcare and modified youth sports programs.

The department also provided parents with guidance for deciding when to send their children and how to do so safely.

“If a child’s school has reopened for one of the approved purposes, the decision to send a child back to school rests with each family,” the department said. “It is essential for families to follow the Department of Public Health’s safety guidance to reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.”

The health department recommends:

  • Keeping children home if they are sick, have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus;
  • Instructing children to always wear face coverings while at school and when outside of the home;
  • Developing good hand washing habits, particularly before eating and after using the restroom; and
  • Teaching children to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others they do not live with.

“As individuals, we get to choose whether to party or help our economy recover; we get to choose whether to protect others from our respiratory droplets or infect others who may go on to need hospital care or even die,” Ferrer said. “What we don’t get to do, is sit on the sidelines. We have an awesome opportunity to slow the spread with every decision we make about how we interact with others.”

With testing results available for nearly 3,080,000 people, the county’s overall positivity rate was holding steady at 9%.

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