Disproportionate impact of COVID-19 revealed in Los Angeles County

People of color and others bear the brunt of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths

Despite the overall low transmission rates of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, local data highlights the continued disproportionate impact of the disease, particularly in communities with higher levels of poverty and among people of color. This disparity underscores the urgent need for targeted prevention and mitigation strategies that can address these gaps and protect vulnerable populations.

Higher rates of COVID-19, hospitalizations, and deaths in poorer neighborhoods and among black and brown residents can be attributed to several factors. These include increased exposure to the virus, limited access to the resources necessary for good health, overcrowded and poorly ventilated homes and workplaces, and disparities in health status. In areas where more than 30% of households live at or below the federal poverty line,

Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are almost two and a half times higher than those in neighborhoods with less poverty. Similarly, death rates in these areas are nearly three times as high. Additionally, the cumulative hospitalization rates among Black and Latino residents in Los Angeles County are twice those of White residents. Latino residents also experience almost two and a half times higher death rates, while black residents face one and a half times higher rates. To mitigate the adverse health outcomes associated with COVID-19, it is crucial that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and community partners focus on preparedness and mitigation efforts that ensure equitable access to life-saving tools. and improve conditions in workplaces, schools. and residential settings.

Residents are encouraged to use available COVID-19 resources, including vaccinations, testing, and treatment. However, equal attention should be paid to infection control measures at the community level, compliance with outbreak reporting, and modifications to work and learning environments to minimize the spread and impact of more than just COVID-19. but also from other respiratory viruses.

Improving indoor air circulation can significantly reduce disease transmission. Workplace managers, school administrators, and residential building managers are advised to look for a ventilation system that achieves a total air change of at least five times per hour. Additionally, it is critical to use filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 13, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Detailed guidance and resources on ventilation can be found here. on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website at ph.lacounty.gov/COVIDbusiness.

Simple actions like opening windows, using fans, and adjusting your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning settings to prevent air recirculation can also improve ventilation.

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce risks associated with infectious disease, including community transmission of COVID-19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requires businesses and facilities to report clusters of COVID cases. -19. This proactive reporting is an important alert, allowing for early and effective intervention by public health outbreak investigators to mitigate further transmission.

Workplaces, educational settings, and residential congregate facilities, such as shelters and correctional facilities, must report all clusters of at least three linked cases occurring within 14 days to Public Health. For facilities with more than 100 workers or residents, reporting is required if 5% of people test positive, even if the cases are not linked. Notification must be made within 24 hours of reaching the Public Health notification threshold. Clusters of cases can be reported by phone at 1-888-397-3993 or online at redcap.link/covidreport.