Channel 1 Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) released today its COVID-19 Hospital Demand Modeling Projections showing that physical distancing is slowing the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the county. The projections indicate that if current levels of physical distancing are not maintained, there will be an exponential rapid increase in the rate of infection, severely hampering the ability of the hospital system to meet that demand.
The insights from this modeling effort in large part informed the County of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health’s decision to extend the ‘Safer at Home’ order until May 15, 2020.
“Physical distancing has ‘flattened the curve’ by slowing the rate of transmission of the virus. Because of this, our healthcare system is able to meet the demand for treatment for COVID-19 patients, providing quality lifesaving services to all those who need them,” DHS Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said. “However, we need to remember that while, yes, transmission is slowing, we are still on a growth curve, and thus need to maintain the public health interventions in place. Physical distancing is the single biggest action we can take to continue to fight this virus. If we went back to life as normal today, by late summer the vast majority of Los Angeles County residents would likely have experienced infection with the virus, putting excessive strain on the healthcare system.”
The modeling team was tasked with taking available data and making the best possible predictions regarding the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and associated demand for hospital-based care including hospital beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and ventilators. The team assessed the effectiveness of current physical distancing efforts in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and “flattening the curve.”
The predictive analysis which models the impending surge provides a depiction of the best- and worst-case scenarios for Los Angeles should physical distancing efforts continue and to what degree. The model projects that if we reverted to pre-order physical distancing behavior now, by August 1, 95.6% of Los Angeles County residents will likely have been infected over the course of the pandemic. Under this worst-case scenario, Los Angeles County would face an infection rate at such magnitude that the healthcare system would not be able to treat patients who need hospitalization, underscoring the need to continue to maintain current levels of physical distancing.