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L.A County Reports Over 11,000 New Coronavirus Cases After U.K. Variant Found In County

L.A. County Department of Public Health reported over 11,000 new COVID-19 cases the day after the U.K. variant was reported in the county.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirmed on Saturday the first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, — the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom (U.K.), in an individual who recently spent time in Los Angeles County.

According to public health officials, the individual in question is a man who traveled to Oregon, where he is currently isolating. The variant was confirmed by Quest Laboratories in Washington state.

An additional 11,366 COVID-19 cases were reported in Los Angeles County on Sunday, along with 108 deaths, according to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the  L.A. County Department of Public Health.

“The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized,” said Ferrer Saturday. “Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, five-times what we experienced over the summer. This more contagious variant makes it easier for infections to spread at worksites, at stores, and in our homes. We are in the midst of a public health emergency so please do everything you can to protect yourselves and those you love.”

Public health officials noted that individuals infected with the U.K. variant will test positive for COVID-19 with current SARS-CoV-2 tests. However, to distinguish the variant strain from the traditional strain, laboratories can look for certain gene patterns and report to the local public health department for confirmation.

Although this is the first confirmed case of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County, Public Health believes that it is already spreading in the community. Public Health is continuing to test samples.

Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. In the U.K., the variant B.1.1.7 emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. The variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants.

Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and Southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.

The new cases reported Sunday bring the county’s cumulative total to 1,014,662 positive cases of COVID-19 and 13,848 deaths since March 2020, according to the department.

As of Sunday, there were 7,498 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 23 percent of which were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Testing results are available for over 5,218,000 people, with 18 percent of people testing positive.

According to California health officials, the Southern California Region has 0.0% staffed adult ICU capacity remaining as of Saturday.

Health officials say that at its current rate, one person in Los Angeles County dies of COVID-19 every eight minutes.

See Related: L.A. County Surpasses 1 Million COVID-19 Cases, First U.K. Variant Case Identified

For those who have just returned from a trip outside of Los Angeles County, they must quarantine in place for 10 days and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Testing is suggested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if one is possibly exposed to someone who was positive.

On Sunday, 182 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Santa Clarita Valley, with 21,050 cumulative cases having been reported in the valley since March of 2020, according to the LADPH. These cases include:

  • 15,663 in the City of Santa Clarita* (+151)
  • 633 in the unincorporated areas of Canyon Country
  • 3,274 in Castaic* (+12)
  • 109 in the unincorporated areas of Saugus (+1)
  • 842 in Stevenson Ranch (+13)
  • 142 in the unincorporated areas of Valencia (+3)
  • 239 in the unincorporated areas of Val Verde (+2)
  • 59 in the unincorporated areas of Newhall
  • 38 in the unincorporated areas of Bouquet Canyon
  • 26 in the unincorporated areas of Saugus/Canyon Country
  • 13 in unincorporated Sand Canyon
  • 12 in San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon

In nearby Acton, there have been 361 cumulative cases (+3), as well as 181 (+1) cases in Agua Dulce.

*As of Thursday, Jan. 14, public health officials have recorded 1,956 cumulative cases have been reported at the Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center, including 1,425 at the North County Correctional Facility. Those cases are distributed between both the City of Santa Clarita and Castaic totals.

As of Monday, Jan. 11 Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital had conducted 16,230 COVID-19 tests. Of those, 2,921 had tested positive, and three tests were still pending with Henry Mayo, according to Patrick Moody, spokesperson for the hospital.

There were 98 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Wednesday, Jan. 13, while 840 patients have been discharged since the hospital’s first case was reported in March 2020, according to Moody.

Two additional deaths were reported Wednesday, with a total of 96 coronavirus deaths at the hospital, with at least 146 COVID-19 deaths reported across the Santa Clarita Valley since March 2020.

See All Coronavirus Coverage: Coronavirus Coverage – COVID-19 Map

Ed. Note: These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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L.A County Reports Over 11,000 New Coronavirus Cases After U.K. Variant Found In County

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