Home > Health > Public Health Bolsters Case Investigation Efforts to Encourage Participation as COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Increase

Public Health Bolsters Case Investigation Efforts to Encourage Participation as COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Increase

Los Angeles County — As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is providing $10 million to community-based organizations, particularly in the hardest hit communities, to encourage participation with case investigation and contact tracing efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Public Health is also piloting a $20 gift card incentive program to thank individuals for participating in the hour-long contact tracing interview.

Public Health has confirmed 9 new deaths and 3,160 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health has identified 159,045 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 4,104 deaths. The decrease in deaths may reflect a reporting lag from over the weekend.

For the second straight day, Public Health confirms the highest number of new hospitalizations reported in a day with 2,232 people currently hospitalized, surpassing yesterday’s count of 2,216 hospitalizations. Of the 2,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized, 26% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU and 19% are confirmed cases on ventilators.

“Each day, we are thinking of the many families in L.A. County who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We are deeply sorry for your loss and send our deepest condolences. We’re also thinking of the many people who are hospitalized and fighting to get well. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Contact tracing is a valuable tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and that’s why we’re providing $10 million to community-based organizations and piloting a $20 gift card incentive for full participation in the interview process. But contact tracing cannot slow this virus on its own. We need our residents and our businesses to heed public health directives. This is truly a community effort. Together, we have the power to slow the devastating spread of this virus.”

Contact tracing requires trained public health specialists to interview individuals who have a positive COVID-19 lab result to gain information about their risks, possible exposures, and close contacts and to ensure that the person who is positive is connected to support while they isolate from others. As of July 7, a total number of 92,523 confirmed positive cases are part of case investigations.

If a person has a positive lab result for COVID-19, expect a public health specialist from LA County Public Health to contact them by phone to interview about possible exposures and to identify others who may have also been exposed to the infection. They will leave a call back number if necessary. If they cannot reach the patient by phone, they will send a letter. Please answer Public Health’s calls and call them back if they leave a message. The information is protected and cannot be shared with others except in emergency situations. Please also note a public health specialist will never ask for a social security number, payment or documented status. Remember that if you think you could be positive and are awaiting testing results, to stay at home and act as if you are positive for COVID-19. This means self-isolating for 10 days and 72 hours after symptoms and fever subside.

The success of contact tracing depends on the timeliness of the testing laboratory to report positive COVID-19 test results to Public Health, whether the report contains the individual’s complete and correct contact information, as well as whether individuals respond timely to Public Health’s case interview and contact tracer calls and emails. About 70% of interviews are completed.

Public Health has a dedicated call line for confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you have not yet connected with a public health specialist or need more information on services, call toll-free at 1-833-540-0473. Residents who do not have COVID-19 should continue to call 211 for resources or more information. Testing results are available for over 1,540,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive. The cumulative positivity rate has increased from 9% to 10%. The majority of all cases have occurred in people under the age of 41 years old with over 52% of people younger than 41 years old infected with COVID-19.

Of the nine new deaths, six people that passed away (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena) were over the age of 65 years old and two people who died were between the ages of 41 and 65 years. Five people had underlying health conditions including four people over the age of 65 years old and one person between the ages of 41 to 65 years old. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach.

Ninety-two percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 3,820 people (99 percent of the cases reported by Public Health); 47% of deaths occurred among Latino/Latinx residents, 26% among White residents, 15% among Asian residents, 11% among African American/Black residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 1% among residents identifying with other races. Upon further investigation, two cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. Business owners and residents need to make sure they are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Current Health Officer Orders require business owners to close indoor operations at many businesses and take immediate action to implement strategies that protect workers and customers. Public Health urges everyone to avoid the Three C’s: Crowded places, Confined spaces and Close contact with others not in your household. Everyone should always wear a face covering securely over your nose and mouth and keep six feet apart from others not in your household when out in public. Public Health reminds everyone that you remain safer at home. The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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