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LA County Coronavirus Death Toll Crosses 1,700-Mark

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Another 51 coronavirus deaths were reported in Los Angeles County Thursday, bringing the total death toll to 1,709.

L.A. County Reopens Beaches And Parks Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
A man wears a face mask along the Venice Beach boardwalk on the day Los Angeles County reopened its beaches, which had been closed due the coronavirus pandemic, on May 13, 2020 in Venice, California. People are allowed to visit the beaches if they maintain social distancing, wear a face covering, and don't lie down or sit on the beach in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

There were also 925 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number for L.A. County to 35,329.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer Thursday emphasized that the number of deaths from coronavirus has been considerably higher than that from influenza in a typical flu season.

She noted that 125 people died of influenza in L.A. County during the six-month-long 2019 flu season. Another 300 people died of influenza in 2018. On average, 250 people die of influenza per year in the L.A. County.

"You can understand why the mortality rate for COVID-19 is so worrisome, because it far exceeds what we're normally used to seeing with a virus or communicable disease," Ferrer said.

When asked about the county's initial projections - which some feared would rival the more than 186,000 cases and 15,000 deaths in New York City - Ferrer said, "There was no intention to really scare people. We were scared."

"We locked down pretty early here, as much of a heartache as that has caused so many people, we did close very early, immediately after we knew there was community transmission," she added.

Even with new cases topping 2,000 over the last couple of days, the county still has plenty of ICU beds and ventilators, according to officials.

865 residents at institutional settings have now died of coronavirus, the vast majority of which lived in nursing homes. That accounts for 51 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the county, Ferrer reported.

Its now the first time that the number of nursing home deaths has accounted for more than half all coronavirus deaths. It was previously reported to have reached 50 percent back on May 5, but the following day officials lowered that count.

Institutional settings include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, jails, prisons, homeless shelters, treatment centers and supportive living facilities.

Ferrer also reported that the health department conduct a new round of inspections at nursing homes.

272,000 people have now been tested for coronavirus countywide, with 11 percent returning positive results.

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