Flaws With the State’s Disease Database May Mean an Undercount in L.A. COVID-19 Infections

The number of people confirmed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus in Los Angeles County may be a lot higher than we think.

In its daily update on COVID-19 infections, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health today says it learned last night about new issues with the state’s electronic laboratory system.

“This issue has undercounted the county’s positive cases and affects the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day and our contact tracing efforts,” the Health Department said.

“… The department has implemented an independent strategy to obtain accurate data, and a team from the department is now working urgently to reach out to at least 81 labs to obtain all COVID-19 test results from July 26 to the present to determine the accurate positive case count in Los Angeles County for the time period in question.

The electronic laboratory system’s California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE) is designed to receive testing results from laboratories, with 350 participating statewide. It then transmits the data to public health agencies.

The Health Department said it is now implementing a system for all labs to report positive test results directly to the department immediately so that it will have an accurate case count and continue contact tracing efforts.

In today’s report, the Health Department said there are 1,901 newly confirmed COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County and 57 new COVID-19 related deaths. That brings the total, based on what information the Health Department has, to 195,614 infections and 4,758 deaths.

The Health Department today reports two newly confirmed infections in West Hollywood, bringing the total to 435. The number of WeHo residents who have died of COVID-19 related illnesses remains at five. In Beverly Hills, the number of confirmed infections has increased by two to 545. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Beverly Hills remains at 10. In Culver City the number of infections remains at 326. The number of deaths remains at 29.

Hollywood has six newly confirmed infections, meaning its total to date is 889. The number of deaths remains at nine. The Melrose neighborhood has four newly confirmed infections, bringing its total to 1,467. The number of deaths has increased by two and now totals 54.

Public Health has a dedicated call line for confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you are positive for COVID-19 and have not yet connected with a public health specialist or need more information on services, call toll-free at 1 (833) 540-0473. Residents who do not have COVID-19 can continue to call 211 for resources or more information.

As noted before, one way the virus can be transmitted is through a cough, a sneeze or even through air that comes from the mouth when someone talks. For that reason, residents must wear face coverings when out in public and can be cited for not doing so. The citations come with a $250 fine and a $50 administrative fee.

West Hollywood residents with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic or who are looking for resources to deal with it can find answers on the City of West Hollywood’s website. Here is a list of links to sections about particular subjects and issues: