PALMDALE — Palmdale has reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case and Lancaster’s tally is up to seven, according to information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released Monday afternoon.
“It was only a matter of time,” Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer said. “The more we test, the more we’re going to get positive tests.”
Palmdale Regional Medical Center officials confirmed Monday afternoon, that the hospital had two patients who had confirmed positive for COVID-19, from among a few individuals who have been tested there.
“We continue to work closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, and we are following appropriate protocols,” officials said.
The second positive case from Palmdale Regional Medical Center may be part of the county Public Health Department’s 61 cases still under investigation.
Officials at Antelope Valley Hospital said Monday, they have had five patients overall, test positive for the virus. Two have been discharged and three are still being treated.
It was not clear where the other two confirmed cases had been tested, but one case has been reported at the California State Prison in Lancaster over the weekend.
These Antelope Valley confirmed cases are part of the 536 reported across Los Angeles County, a total that includes 128 new cases reported Monday.
The county has also seen seven deaths due to the disease, including two additional ones reported Monday. Of these deaths, one was a Glendale resident who was older than 65 and had underlying health conditions.
The second death was a person between 30 and 50 years old. Public health officials are still investigating where they lived.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase over the last 48 hours and sadly, we expect positive case counts to rise dramatically over the next three weeks,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Social distancing is our best tool against this pandemic and it is critical that all residents obey the Safer at Home Health Officer Order.”
Of the confirmed cases in total, 42% are people ages 18 to 40, and 80% are people ages 18 to 65, Ferrer said.
About 10% of those people tested so far, have had positive results.
“This virus can in fact infect people across the board and all people need to be vigilant and practice every directive that’s being issued at the state, local and county level,” Ferrer said.
Of those who have tested positive in Los Angeles County, 90 have been hospitalized at some point, or about 17%.
Kern County has reported 11 confirmed cases among county residents as of Monday morning, plus one person traveling in the county, according to the Kern County Public Health Services Department.
None of the positive tests were found in the eastern reaches of the county, which includes the Antelope Valley communities of Rosamond, Mojave and California City.
California City, which declared an emergency on March 17 and a stay-at-home order mirroring the state’s on March 20, has closed City Hall and canceled all meetings, including tonight’s scheduled City Council meeting. Any emergency meetings will be held via teleconference, with an ability for the public to call in to participate.
“The bottom line is strictly precautionary, to keep everyone safe,” Mayor Chuck McGuire said in a video message, “We have no idea how long this will last, and we as a community, will meet this head-on and we will not falter.”
Public health officials have cautioned that the numbers of confirmed cases will continue to climb, in part, as testing increases.
Los Angeles County, with the city of Los Angeles, is contracting with South Korean Seegene Technologies Inc., to provide an initial delivery of 20,000 new Coronavirus tests to increase the testing capacity.
Initially, the priority testing will be for first-responders and medical personnel, those who “are on the front lines of this crisis,” Chair of the Board of Supervisors Kathryn Barger said. “We want to ensure their safety and must safeguard against any further transmission of this virus.”
High-risk individuals will also continue to be tested during this first phase of additional testing, she said.