11 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Los Angeles County; total now at 53

Eleven new cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Los Angeles County, bringing the total to 53. 

According to LA Public Health Department eight of those cases are likely due to community transmission. Two people with confirmed cases are hospitalized.

Health officials say all confirmed cases are being isolated and people in close contact with them have been quarantined. 

Also on Saturday, the Long Beach Health Department announced an additional case of coronavirus—bringing Long Beach’s total to five. The health department said the patient is a woman in her 60s, who is hospitalized and in stable condition. This is also the first likely case of community transmission.

Related: 5th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Long Beach, first known case of community transmission

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"As expected, we are seeing increased community spread, and as more testing occurs we will continue to see significantly more cases," said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Los Angeles County Public Health Director in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

"Our healthcare providers are prepared to see more cases, but we must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to minimize strain on our healthcare system and other service providers. This means strictly adhering to social distancing requirements, practicing good hygiene such as frequent hand washing, and caring for the most vulnerable members of our community. Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to our emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. If you have respiratory illness and want to know if you should be tested for COVID-19, it is best to call your health care provider or, if you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinician near you," she added.

LA Public Health issued a list of protocols to help people limit the spread of COVID-19.

•    Avoid non-essential travel, public gatherings, and places where large groups of people congregate.
•    Event organizers postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings of 250 or more until at least the end of March.
•    Smaller events proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person.
•    Limit gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (people older than 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness) to no more than 10 people.
•    This guidance does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services, including public transportation, airport travel or shopping.
•    If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.
•    Exclude employees and visitors with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms and visitors with recent travel to any country or region with significant community transmission (including communities in the US) from all schools, businesses, and gatherings of any size.
•    Follow all social distancing recommendations issued by Public Health.

For more on novel coronavirus you can visit the websites of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization

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