The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (PDH) confirmed 21 new deaths and 1,324 new cases of COVID-19 on Oct. 2.

At press time, the department had identified 275,856 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA county and a total of 6,681 deaths.

There continues to be widespread COVID-19 transmission in L.A. County, PDH officials said, emphasizing that “it is important that everyone” follow the safety measures that minimize COVID-19 transmission and saves lives, including avoiding gatherings with people not from your household.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 — this includes a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 —  it is very important that you quarantine for 14 days and stay away from all other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, and monitor your health during the 14 days. This is required to prevent you from unintentionally spreading COVID-19 to other people.

You should get tested if you were exposed to COVID-19. If you think you could be positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results, it is important to stay at home and act as if you are positive for the virus. This means staying home except to get medical care and separate yourself from others until at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved.

“To everyone who is grieving the loss of a family member or a friend who has passed away from COVID-19, I extend my deepest sympathies,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd.

“Recent cases and concerns about transmission of the virus among our national leaders and their staff members are a reminder to everyone about how important it is to use the tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a cloth face covering and keeping physical distance when around people you do not live with is a very important action everyone needs to take to protect themselves and other people from transmission,” Ferrer said. 

“Gatherings of any kind, even with people you know who have no symptoms, can easily result in transmission of the virus to many people, especially when people are not diligent about wearing face coverings and keeping physical distance. Because of the virus’ long incubation period, even a person who has recently tested negative for the virus could be positive within hours of testing and have the ability to infect other people unknowingly. Each of us being diligent in slowing the spread of COVID-19 saves lives.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, PDH continues to encourage participation with case investigation and contact tracing efforts. To date, over 134,000 people who are or were positive for COVID-19 completed the case investigation interview process.

More than 81,000 contacts, or people that were exposed to the virus, were identified, and nearly 59,000 close contacts completed interviews. Obtaining as much information as possible from people during the case investigation interview helps contain this virus and minimize outbreaks, and it is a crucial part of protecting the health of communities.

If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should plan on receiving a call from a contact tracer to discuss how to protect themselves and others, to find out where they may have been, and who they were in close contact with while infectious.

The department encourages anyone who receives a call from Public Health to speak to our contact tracers. If a contact tracer calls, it will display on your phone as “LA Public Health” or as (833) 641-0305