Los Angeles County reported another 40 deaths due to the coronavirus Friday, while also announcing three more confirmed cases of a COVID-19-related inflammatory condition in children.
The pediatric malady, known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, has now affected a total of 34 youth in the county. All of them were hospitalized at some point and nearly half wound up in an intensive-care unit, but no deaths have been reported.
The syndrome can result in the swelling of organs including the heart, lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal organs. The condition has generally been linked to children who either had or were exposed to COVID-19.
Of the Los Angeles County cases, 71% of the patients were Latino/Latina, according to the Department of Public Health.
The county on Friday announced 43 coronavirus-related deaths, although three of those fatalities were announced Thursday afternoon by health officials in Long Beach. The Long Beach and Pasadena health departments both reported three more deaths Friday.
The new fatalities lifted the countywide death toll from throughout the pandemic to 6,177.
The county also announced 1,115 new confirmed cases of the virus, while Long Beach added 46 and Pasadena 13. The county's cumulative case total rose to 252,125.
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The number of people hospitalized in the county due to the virus dropped to 889 as of Friday, matching levels not seen in the county since the early days of the pandemic in April.
In a statement, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said that on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the county extends its thanks to first-responders and health care workers who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.
“Our country came together after 9/11 and forged a new path forward,” she said. “Today, we have also been asked to come together and learn how to live through the COVID-19 pandemic. We give thanks to all who helped us get through the devastation brought by 9/11, and to all who are helping us get through COVID-19.''
Ferrer this week held conference calls with local education officials, telling them it's unlikely K-12 schools will be authorized to reopen for in-person instruction before November. Schools have been authorized to begin small in-person classes for students with specialized needs or individual learning plans or who are learning to speak English.
Ferrer reiterated that the county would not be offering waivers that were once on the table for individual schools to seek a return to in-person instruction, based on the virus situation in their particular community.
L.A. County is in the highest tier for danger from the pandemic, which means a general reopening of schools is not currently permitted under state orders. Long Beach Unified, the county's second-largest school system, told parents Thursday that the district would continue online-only instruction through the winter break to provide instructional stability.