Coronavirus death toll in Los Angeles nears 1,000, health officials say most deaths are care home residents

Nursing home residents account for 45% of COVID-19 deaths in the county

LOS ANGELES — During their daily briefing, Los Angeles public health officials have broken down the infections and are finding some facilities and jobs more hazardous during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have now identified 312 institutional settings that include at least one coronavirus case.

The institutions include care homes, skilled nursing facilities, and prisons. The death toll in Los Angeles County climbed to 942 as of Monday afternoon, with 423 of them coming from skilled nursing facility residents.

“This now represents 45% of all of our deaths in LA County, the majority of these residents did live in skilled nursing facilities. And I do want to take a minute to note and thank all of the staff that work at these facilities because they’re doing their very best under extraordinarily difficult circumstances to care for the residents,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA Public Health Director.

Ferrer added that 11 of the deaths were health workers, most of whom worked at skilled nursing facilities. Officials said they are now focused to make sure everyone at these places gets tested.

Our strategy is to offer testing to all residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities and we’re working closely with the department of health services to ensure adequate testing kids and specimen collection at the nursing homes.

Since the pandemic, this has put many Filipino caregivers on high alert, and many have since been able to get tested.

“About three weeks ago, it was much much harder there was less access, but since then, accessibility to testing has been increased, and so its much easier to connect caregivers, and there hasn’t been any trouble considering caregivers as frontline workers, to get them tested right away especially if they live in places like assisted living or care homes, so far we haven’t seen any problems, it’s just sometimes the turn around for the results could be varying lengths tho it seems to be getting better as well,” said Aqui Soriano Versoza from the Pilipino Workers Center.

The Pilipino Workers Center has been working closely with these frontliners, even helping arrange temporary housing for those who test positive. They’re also helping them with care boxes, and hot meals provided by many community members.

During their biweekly meeting, which included the Philippine consulate, and local government officials, they also reminded caregivers who are affected by the pandemic to avail of the community as well as government services.

(Cover photo: A healthcare worker prepares to administer a rapid, point of care pinprick coronavirus  IgM and IgG antibodies test at a myCovidMD free testing center for under and uninsured people, founded by three black women doctors, in Los Angeles, CA. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

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