July 31, 2020 at 9:17 pm PDT | by Brody Levesque
California Passes 500,000 Confirmed Cases of COVID19

MADERA – In what has become a numbing never-ending litany of daily surges in the data statistics associated with the coronavirus pandemic, on Friday California recorded 500,656 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state has also experienced the loss of 9,221 residents including the first recorded death of an adolescent under the age of 18 in the hard-hit Central Valley.

The death of the teen, who was experiencing other health conditions according to the California Department of Health, comes as the Central California region has seen coronavirus cases continuously surging over the past several weeks. A spokesperson for the Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera confirmed that the patient was being treated there before dying.

“The death of this patient reaffirms that children [and no age group] are not immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the medical facility said in a statement. “It is imperative, now more than ever, for us to all work together to prevent further spread of this disease. Our children deserve no less.”

Los Angeles County officials had said in March that a 17-year-old Antelope Valley teenager had died due to COVID-19. However, Dr. Barbara Ferrer in a press briefing a few days later announced that her office was rescinding the initial finding, saying it was possible he died from something else. Ferrer told reporters at the time that the case would need to be evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control.

The death of the teen comes amid sharp debate in parts of California over whether or not to reopen schools for in-person attendance by students and classroom instruction. Madera, a medium-size city is located approximately 23 miles Northwest of Fresno, where there have been contentious discussions among elected officials over California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement two weeks ago that counties on the state’s watch list would not be allowed in-person instruction.

The Fresno Bee reported at the beginning of the month that Madera County and neighboring Fresno county were both on the monitoring list and that schools would not be allowed to reopen.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 69 new deaths and 2,651 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The increase in deaths reported today is significantly higher than what was reported last week. Last week’s average was nearly 38 new deaths a day.

There are 2,002 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU. There are a total of 2,568 confirmed and suspect cases that are currently hospitalized and 18% of these people are on ventilators.

To date, Public Health has identified 188,481 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 4,621 deaths. Upon further investigation, 42 cases reported earlier were not L.A. County residents.

In San Diego County, a gym that defied public health officials’ orders to close has been linked to an outbreak of COVID-19. According to a report by KTLA, the Pacific Beach gym remained open despite an order to close indoor operations to prevent the spread of the virus.

The business was sent a letter July 23 and told to close immediately, but it didn’t shut until days later on July 27, county health officials say. San Diego County has reported a total of 28,287 Covid-19 cases and 552 deaths.

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