More than 10% of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s employees are in quarantine due to the coronavirus, a number officials attributed to the explosion of cases throughout the county.
As of Monday, 655 non-sworn and 1,216 sworn personnel were in quarantine after having tested positive or having had a confirmed exposure, according to department data. The department has about 17,500 employees, according to spokesman Lt. John Satterfield. Of those, more than 10,100 are sworn personnel, according to data from early September.
In response, officials have staggered schedules, hired extra staff and encouraged strategies to limit transmission, such as mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing, Satterfield said, adding: “I believe it is a reflection of what is occurring in the community.”
Los Angeles County has seen an unprecedented increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, and officials are warning that with hospitals over capacity, medical care is starting to be compromised.
The county has reported an average of 84 COVID-19 deaths a day over the past week — six times the comparable number from six weeks ago. It has also reported nearly 15,000 new coronavirus cases every day over the past week, almost eight times the comparable figure from six weeks ago.
Records are also being shattered across the state. California on Monday once again reached a daily record for most number of coronavirus cases in a single day. An incomplete preliminary county-by-county tally conducted by The Times for Monday found at least 62,000 new coronavirus cases reported — the most in a single day since Friday, when 53,326 cases were reported.
The Times’ tally found at least 252 COVID-19 deaths across California on Monday, which would be one of the highest single-day tallies so far in the pandemic. California has now averaged at least 247 COVID-19 deaths every day over the past week, a record and more than five times the comparable tally from six weeks ago.
In L.A. County, early vaccination efforts are aimed at front-line healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities, according to health officials. Satterfield said that about 286 department personnel considered emergency medical services workers will receive the vaccine during the first distribution wave.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department has also been dealing with the virus’ impact on its ranks.
During a Dec. 15 meeting of the Police Commission, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said his department was continuing to struggle with a large number of employees testing positive and having to quarantine or isolate.
In the week before the meeting, 156 personnel had tested positive, he said, bringing the total number of positive tests in the department, which has about 13,000 employees, to more than 1,200. Moore had said 408 employees were still at home, and 751 had recovered.
Moore said he has been in conversations with public health officials about officers receiving the vaccine as first responders and anticipated that would probably happen in January or early February.
Times staff writers Casey Miller, Jennifer Lu and Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.