CALIFORNIA—On Wednesday, May 17, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that there were 2,129 new COVID-19 cases and 34 new deaths due to the disease. This is the highest number of new cases reported in a single day – Public Health claims that “however about 600 cases are from a backlog of test results.”

Twenty-three people who died were over 65 years of age, seven were 41-65 years old, and four were 18-40. A total of 23 people also had underlying health conditions.

“Our hearts go out to the many families who have lost people they love to COVID-19. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

There have been 77,189 COVID-19 cases throughout the Los Angeles County and 2,991 deaths. Around a quarter of the 1,420 currently-hospitalized COVID-19 patients are in the Intensive-Care Unit (ICU), and close to a quarter are on ventilators.

According to the Department of Public Health, testing capability “continues to increase.” Test results are available for more than 854,000 people, of which 8 percent have been positive.

Race/ethnicity information is now available for most of those who have died of the disease. Forty-two percent of them were Latino/Latinx. Latino/Latinx people account for approximately half of the county’s overall population. Twenty-nine percent of casualties were among White people, who also account for around half the total population. Seventy percent were among Asian people and 11 percent among African-Americans – similar to their respective percentages of the overall population. Less than 2 percent of those who died were Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, or people of other races.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released a statement on Twitter saying: “Did you attend a protest recently? [Public Health] advises [you] to self-quarantine for 2 weeks and monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.” 

Twitter user @NeverEn53418731 responded to another Public Health Tweet, saying: “Get your sh** together LA! Who wants to go protest more?” @annara1 chimed in, commenting that “[Public Health,] you have a lot of backlogs. Is there a staffing issue?”

“While many may be feeling relief that more businesses and facilities are opening, and that people are going back to work, please remember that the key to moving through our recovery journey successfully is to look out for one another,” said Ferrer. “This means practicing physical distancing as much as possible and wearing a cloth face covering whenever you are around other people who are not from your household. This includes when you are walking along a sidewalk or standing in line at the store; if you will pass by others, please be wearing your face covering.”