New coronavirus cases in LA County jump by 101 in 48 hours, now up to 292

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Los Angeles County continued to rise on Friday, March 20, as health officials announced 61 new cases, making a total of 292 confirmed cases in the county overall. That’s 101 new confirmed cases in the past 48 hours.

There have been two deaths related to COVID-19 in LA County so far. The latest fatality was reported on Thursday when a man in his 30s with underlying health conditions died in the Pasadena area.

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the list of confirmed cases included 138 people between the ages of 18 and 65.

“Younger people, while they might have a better outcome, are in fact one of the largest groups of people we have tested who are positive for COVID-19,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said about 2,400 people have been tested so far at both public and commercial labs with roughly 10 percent testing positive.

“When we look at what’s happening in other cities and states we know that we need to be prepared for many more cases,” Ferrer said.

LA County also announced that the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Convention Center in Pomona will become a quarantine center beginning Monday, March 23. The county has reserved 244 rooms until at least May 31, according to Supervisor Hilda Solis, District 1.

The Office of Emergency Management was still looking for additional places to house individuals either diagnosed with COVID-19 or those still waiting test results. The first location announced was at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey where motor homes this week appeared ready and waiting for occupants.

“I know there are many people who due to their circumstances are unable to self isolate,” Solis said. “If not, we are putting others who reside in that home at risk for exposure to the virus.”

Miguel Santana, president and CEO of the 500-acre Fairplex, said the hotel had also partnered with a local food bank to make its parking lot available as a drive-thru food pantry beginning April 1, and the hotel’s childcare center will be offered to first responders.

“We are here to help and do our part and we encourage others to do the same,” Santana said.

The numbers of confirmed cases so far most definitely does not represent the total number of people infected, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Because of limited testing and a delay in confirming cases by the county, the actual number of people infected could be assumed to be much higher, Ferrer has said. Experts predict the number of confirmed cases will double roughly every three days.

The goal at this point, according to Ferrer, is to slow the spread of the disease so that the hospitals are not overrun with patients like what happened in Wuhan, China and now Italy.

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