Los Angeles County public health officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing, though they also indicated that delays in reporting are contributing to an underestimated count.
Because of the technology issues causing the delays, La Cañada Flintridge’s case count of 129, reported on Wednesday, was potentially an undercount. There were also six deaths reported.
According to the number of confirmed cases that have been reported, new LCF infections have been keeping fairly steady for some time; the case total was reported at 118 through the end of July 27, while 107 cases were reported through July 20. The largest weekly increase in July was registered from July 13 to July 20, at 14 new cases within the week.
“I, like so many, do want this to come to some type of resolve,” Mayor Mike Davitt said in an email. “We continue to work with our county and state leaders to find ways to allow business and field [usage] to reopen in a safe and prudent manner.”
Davitt also said that LCF’s leaders are considering options for programs that “could be helpful to our business in town as well as our residents.”
The most recent COVID-19 count indicates that 0.62% of LCF’s population has tested positive for COVID-19, a lower rate than that of nearby cities South Pasadena and Glendale, which reported rates of 0.86% and 1.19% of their populations, respectively.
There were 197,912 total cases in L.A. County as of Tuesday, with 4,825 deaths. People between the ages of 18 and 49 years old make up nearly 60% of new cases, officials said Wednesday.
Despite a recent rise in COVID-19 cases that has led to widespread shutdowns, again, of businesses and indoor gatherings, officials from the L.A. Department of Public Health said on Monday that the spread appeared to be slowing.
“The positive trends can be attributed to a variety of things, including the decreased opportunities for transmission, particularly in high-risk settings,” the statement said. “Several weeks ago, bars were closed, and the indoor operations of a variety of businesses and institutions were moved outdoors.”
Officials noted that that on Monday, the L.A. County seven-day average of about 2,600 new cases per day was down from more than 3,000 cases per day two weeks ago.
However, recent cases may be undercounted. Officials explained in a news release Tuesday that technology issues with the electronic laboratory system used by California to track cases of the novel coronavirus have affected “the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day and our contact tracing efforts.”
The Public Health department did not provide an estimate as to how many cases had not been counted due to the issues with the system. However, it is reaching out to labs individually to gather test results from July 26 onwards. Once the issues are fixed, according to the department, the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to increase.
Officials also said they do not expect delays in patients receiving their test results due to the technology issues. The number of hospitalizations reported — which on Tuesday had fallen to 1,757 from the more than 2,000 reported in the prior week — is also not affected.
The department also announced Tuesday that the county would not be granting waivers allowing schools to reopen classes in grades TK-6, as the county’s case rate was at 335 per 100,000. State officials recommend that counties with rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents do not issue those waivers.
“We know that to many families, this is a disappointing announcement, but it’s based on the existing science and data that is guiding all of our decision-making,” L.A. County officials said in a news release. “We need to ensure the health and safety of our children, school teachers and staff and all of their families.”