Higher COVID-19 mortality rate for African Americans, Pacific Islanders in L.A. County: officials

As Los Angeles County saw a spike in COVID-19 cases with one of the largest single-day jumps in the pandemic, health officials reported a higher mortality rate among African Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.  

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health reported 1,638 new COVID-19 cases, which they said was due in part to a lag in testing data that often occurs over the weekend, and was also the result of more testing.

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Health officials said the data is alarming and shows communities of color are hit particularly hard by the virus.


Health officials said of those diagnosed with the coronavirus, 38% were Hispanic, 28% were white, 19% were Asian, and 12% were Black, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. 

When it comes to mortality rates, African Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at a much higher rate than those of other ethnic backgrounds in L.A. County.

“African Americans and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander neighbors and families are dying at a much higher rate than all others in L.A. County and we continue to need to work together to reduce this gap immediately,” L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.

Having pre-existing health conditions was a major factor, health officials said. 


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Health officials worry when that when the state reopens, those numbers could continue to climb.

“We do know as we reopen, more people will be out and about and we’ll see more cases. What we have make sure is that we have enough capacity in our hospitals to be able to treat a small increase in the number of people who may show up needing hospital care,” Dr. Ferrer said. 


The county has also opened more testing centers.

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