As the number of coronavirus-related deaths nears 800 in Los Angeles County, the public health director says the respiratory illness is now the leading cause of death in the county.
"More people are dying each day from COVID-19 than from other diseases that we track and get information on," Dr. Barbara Ferrer said, who added that an average of 44 individuals in the county die each day from the virus.
Back on April 12, the department reported 31 deaths from COVID-19 which was the region's "highest daily count" at that point.
To put those figures in context, Ferrer said that on average, five people die from the flu daily during the flu season, while 31 individuals die each day of coronary heart disease.
Los Angeles County officials on Thursday confirmed an additional 68 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,081 new COVID-19 cases across the region. The county's death toll now stands at 797 with a total of 17,508 positive cases.
Eighty-nine percent people who have died as a result of the virus had underlying health conditions. Among the 761 deaths where race and ethnicity have been identified, 37 percent were Hispanic/Latino, 29 percent were white, 18 percent were Asian and 15 percent were African American. The remaining 2 percent were identified as belonging to another race and/or ethnicity.
The announcement comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom also said that Wednesday was the deadliest day for the novel coronavirus in the state of California, with 115 deaths confirmed - a figure he used to underscore the importance of waiting until the right moment to begin state's reopening.