Los Angeles County announced 267 new COVID-19-related deaths Saturday, pushing the county's coronavirus death toll past 15,000. As of Saturday, 15,162 residents of LA County had lost their lives to the virus.
Public health officials' warnings of a holiday surge came to fruition, as the county has reported more than 5,000 new deaths since Dec. 30, meaning the death toll increased by 50% in about three and a half weeks.
“We wish healing and peace to everyone mourning a loved one lost to COVID-19,” LA County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Many people continue to spread this virus and, tragically, now more than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. While we are seeing some positive data in daily new cases and hospitalizations, we are far from out of the woods. It is critically important we slow COVID-19 spread to decompress the strain on our healthcare system and save lives. Please continue to adhere to all of the safety measures to protect yourself and others: staying home as much as possible, wearing a face covering, avoiding gatherings, keeping your distance, and washing your hands frequently."
On a positive note, people hospitalized with the virus dropped to 6,881 Saturday, which marked the first time fewer than 7,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in LA County since Dec. 29, according to the Department of Public Health. Twenty-four percent of the patients were in ICUs, the department said.
According to the state, the Southern California Region continues to have 0% available ICU capacity and remains under the Regional Stay-at-Home Order.
The county also reported 10,537 new cases Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,064,887 since the pandemic began.
In addition, eight new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) were reported Saturday, bringing the total cases of MISC-C in the county to 62 children, with one death, according to Public Health.
"MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 and symptoms include fever that does not go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs," the department stated.
Parents are advised to contact their primary care or urgent care provider if they believe their child is expressing symptoms of MIS-C.