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L.A. County Reports Second Death From Coronavirus

Coronavirus COVID-19 Illustration | CDC

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A second person has died in Los Angeles County due to the coronavirus, the county's public health director announced today, while the overall number of cases increased by 40, plus two more cases reported by Long Beach officials.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, head of the county Department of Public Health, said the person who died was between 30 and 50 years old and had an unspecified underlying health condition. The person lived in a "small community" near Pasadena.

I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the person who's deceased,'' Ferrer said. "I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you know that we as a community are mourning with you."

Ferrer reported 40 additional cases in the county, bringing the total to 230. Late Thursday morning, the city of Long Beach -- which maintains its own health department -- reported two more cases that were not immediately included in the county's figures, meaning there are a total of 232 cases countywide. Long Beach has reported a total of 12 cases, three of whom have already recovered.

Ferrer stressed that the county is going to see continued increases in cases over the next four to 12 weeks.

"But that doesn't mean that the important actions that you're all taking to combat this virus are not working," she said. "Social distancing is critical and we implore you to take seriously everyone's obligation to limit their exposures to others and to limit others from being exposed to you. This is the one way that we can all be serious about what it mean to try to slow down the increasing number of cases here in the county."

Ferrer also gave an ominous warning, saying, "As a general rule of thumb, you should assume that you may be infected and that others around you may be infected."

"Therefore, act accordingly," she said. "Take every precaution possible to avoid infecting others and to avoid becoming infected. That's the goal of social distancing."

She noted the number of cases will continue to rise in part because of the increased availability of testing, with seven labs operating with
multiple sites.

On Wednesday, Dr. Christina Ghaly, who runs the county hospital system, echoed the point that some infected individuals -- who may not have any symptoms at all -- are walking around unaware they have the virus.

"People should assume that those they come into contact with might be positive for the virus," Ghaly said.

Ghaly on Thursday again noted a critical shortage of blood supplies, encouraging people to donate. She said there is no clinical evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through the blood.

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