5,000 LA County Residents Have Died of the Novel Coronavirus

Medical professionals prepare for the arrival of more vehicles during the first week of novel coronavirus testing at City Hall.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 11, a week after the LA County Department of Public Health announced a backlog of COVID-19 data due to “technology issues,” there remained no update from the State of California adjusting numbers expected to be much higher than what has so far been reported. 

But despite a logjam in reporting case numbers, the county specified that the reported number of deaths across Los Angeles was properly reported—and as of Tuesday, the tally had surpassed 5,000 victims of the pandemic. Two of those victims were Malibu residents.

“Today’s numbers do not include backlog numbers,” information from LA County Public Health stated on Tuesday. “The State [of California] indicated that a backlog of lab reports for L.A County from the state electronic laboratory system (ELR) should be reconciled this week. Data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, are not affected by this reporting issue.”

In response to the ongoing backlog in state lab reporting Dr. Sonia Angell, the former director of the state Department of Public Health and key adviser to California Governor Gavin Newsom, resigned on Monday, according to multiple news outlets. Newsom expressed apparent frustration with Angell when speaking to press about her resignation, NBC reported.

“We’re all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us,” Newsom said. “I don’t want to air any more than that. But if it’s not obvious then, well, I encourage you to consider the fact that we accepted the resignation.”

County leadership expressed sorrow over the ever-increasing number of deaths due to the virus.

“L.A. County has hit a tragic milestone today—more than 5,000 of our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers have died because of COVID-19. This is heartbreaking and reminds us of the human toll of this pandemic. Our hearts go out to the many families that have lost a love[d] one to this pandemic,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for LA County, said in a statement provided by the department.

As of Tuesday, 86 Malibu residents tested positive for the novel coronavirus since testing began in April. Additionally, two local outbreaks had been reported to the department of public health, each of which was previously reported in The Malibu Times: six cases were confirmed among staff at Moonshadows Restaurant and two cases were reported, one staffer and one resident, at Paradigm Malibu, a residential rehab and treatment facility.