COVID-19 case rates among Black and Latino residents decreasing since July peak

Sloane Bozzi, Assistant Campus Editor

Los Angeles County has the most cases in the U.S., as other hotspots like New York have seen a decrease in the number of new cases.

The Centers for Disease Control forecasts an upward trend in the number of deaths nationwide. Los Angeles County currently holds the record for the most confirmed cases in the nation.

We have compiled data and guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center to provide an update for L.A. County. Data is up to date as of Aug. 21, 2020. Here is your weekly COVID-19 update.

Total cases:

Total count of cases and deaths as of Aug. 21. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in L.A. County on Jan. 26, the number of positive cases continues to rise. Over 2% of L.A. County’s population of 10 million has COVID-19.

COVID-19 curve of cumulative cases in L.A. County as of Aug. 21. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)


There are 1,280 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in L.A. County. 420 COVID-positive patients are in the Intensive Care Unit. The county currently has 823 available ICU beds.

The state’s goal is to keep hospitalization increases below 10%. L.A. County’s hospitalizations are currently at +1.3%.

Race and ethnicity:
Los Angeles County’s data shows cases and deaths disproportionately affect people of color.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Wednesday, during a COVID-19 update that there was a rise in the number of cases in all races and ethnicities in July. Cases from the Latino population were highest in July, but sharply declined in August.

“One factor that contributed to this inequity that we saw play out over time, but became super pronounced during the month of July is that our Latino/Latinx residents, our African American/Black residents are most likely to have been working all along in essential industries and in some low-wage jobs where there were few workplace protections, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic,” Ferrer said.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported that Latinos make up 57.8% of cases with data on race and ethnicity, while the white population accounts for 12.2% of cases with data on race and ethnicity. Latinos account for 50.1% of all COVID-19 deaths.

In California, people of color are more likely to say coronavirus has seriously impacted their ability to meet their family’s basic needs, according to a poll conducted by UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

Local official updates:

L.A. County Hospitalization rate has declined since July

Ferrer said on Monday the hospitalization rate has decreased 37% between July 17 and Aug. 17.

“The decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is one of our best indicators that our efforts over the last few weeks are actually working,” Ferrer said.

L.A. County taking legal action against Grace Community Church

L.A. County has filed a lawsuit against the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley for holding services against local health orders that houses of worship could not hold indoor services.

“Images from a video of the Aug. 2 service posted on Grace Church’s website again show that large numbers of people were gathered without wearing masks or engaging in social-distancing practices,” the lawsuit states.

Pastor John F. MacArthur held services at the church on Aug. 15 in defiance of an appellate court issued halt to the indoor service.

State data backlog fixed

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the state’s electronic lab reporting backlog in a press conference on Monday. Over 295,000 cases were cleared. Of the cleared cases, 14,861 positive cases were reported.

Stabilized positivity rate statewide

Newsom said the 14-day positivity rate is stable at 6.5% statewide.

What’s open:
Grocery stores
Essential retail
Some non-essential retail with modifications
Parks and beaches with modifications
Golf courses
Shared residential pools
Nail salons (outdoors with modifications)
Hair salons (outdoors with modifications)
Gyms (outdoors with modifications)

What’s closed:
Indoor dining at restaurants
Indoor houses of worship
Indoor gyms
Indoor shopping malls
Tattoo shops
Indoor barber shops

Face masks are still required in public. Gatherings should be limited to only people in your household.


The L.A. County website lists 164 testing locations available for both walk-up and drive-up testing. Testing is available by appointment only.

A free pop-up testing center will be in Pacoima on Aug. 25 and 26. No appointment is necessary. A list of pop-up testing centers can be found here.

A comprehensive map of testing locations can be found here.