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Los Angeles Public Health Department Continue to Study Disproportionate Death Rates Within Underserved Communities
By Betti Halsell Contributing Writer
Published May 19, 2020
African Americans are still reflecting one of the highest COVID-19 Death rates within the Los Angeles Community.

Model of COVID-19 affects by race and ethnicity. (Screen Shot)

 

Tuesday, May 19, Los Angeles County Officials updated the community with their response towards the COVID-19 outbreak. There has been ongoing progression towards opening communal spaces and nonessential businesses, but the Los Angeles Health Department urge those with underlining health conditions remain in the house as outside traffic picks up, the risk of spreading the virus is still present. The Director of the Public Health Department Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared the latest positive case count and current death rate due to coronavirus. Although Los Angeles is seeing progress in flattening the curve, there has not been a day with zero deaths due to COVID-19 in the last two months.

Looking at the effects of COVID-19 within race and ethnicity, the data reflects the disproportionate death rate and financial fall within the African American and Latino communities. The model chart reflected black communities having one of the highest COVID-19 related death rates when compared to other ethnicities. Black people make up 7% of the positive cases and 12% of the county rate, even though only 8% African Americans are part of L.A. population.

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The information collected from the coronavirus death rates where race and ethnicity was identified in 1,722 fallen victims showcased 12% were African American, 18% were Asian, 1% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 39% were LatinX, 29% were white, and 1% identified with another race or ethnicity. The disproportionate death rate within the African American and latino communities were acknowledged. Through a pro-rated formula, the health department determined that African Americans have the highest COVID-19 related death rate than all other races.  An in-depth study presented those who lived below the poverty line, had three times the rate of death from COVID-19.

Director of the Public Health Department Dr. Barbara Ferrer. (Screen Shot)

Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health disclosed the latest updates surrounding the COVID-19 Virus.  Dr.Ferrer shared Tuesday, May 19, Ferrer acknowledged the growing death rate in Los Angeles, there were 76 additional deaths, 52 of these individuals were between the ages of 65 and over, 48 of them with underlining health conditions. 19 people were between the ages of 41-65, with 14 of them having preexisting medical concerns. Two victims were under the age of 41 with underlining health conditions, this brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in the L.A. County to 1,913.

Ferrer disclosed as of May 19, there are 1,183 new coronavirus reports.  These numbers reflect 1,305 positive cases in Long Beach and 702 COVID-19 reports coming from Pasadena. Approximately 23% of those infected with COVID-19 are hospitalized at some point. 92% of positive cases that died, had underlining health conditions. In summary there are 39,573 positive COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles region. Within the unsheltered community, there were 300 positive coronavirus cases. This includes 150 reports coming from shelters, they are now appropriately isolated.

 

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Chair Pro Tem, First District

 

Public officials have preached the importance of testing capacity throughout this crisis. It has been referred to as “the key to containing the coronavirus.” Although there is a delay in testing accessibility nationwide, Supervisor Hilda Solis assured Angelenos that L.A. has the support to supply available testing across the county. Solis recommended anyone experiencing fever, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, or a loss of taste or smell would be a sign to get tested. If their residents not showing symptoms but are over the age of 65 or have a chronic health disorder, Solis urged for those most susceptible to the virus should also be examined for COVID-19. In collaboration with California State Governor Gavin Newsom, L.A. is looking to bring more testing sites online, including a location in Cal State L.A. Currently there is an overall capacity to test 20,000 people. Supervisor Solis stated, “Widespread testing helps inform our strategies on when and how fast we can reopen.”

 

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