Los Angeles County’s coronavirus hospitalizations have dropped by six people, with 1,059 COVID-positive patients in local hospitals, according to the latest state figures released Saturday.
Of those patients, 118 were being treated in intensive care, down from 120 the previous day.
County officials have said that roughly 43% of the COVID-positive patients were actually admitted for virus-related illness, while the others were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested at the hospital.
The latest numbers come one day after the county reported 3,995 new infections and 19 additional COVID-related deaths, raising its cumulative totals to 3,351,082 cases and 32,922 deaths since the pandemic began.
The number of new COVID infections reported each day by the county is believed to be an undercount of actual virus activity, since many people use at-home tests, the results of which are not always reported to the county.
The county moved into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “medium” virus-activity category on Thursday, when the average daily rate of people being admitted to hospitals for COVID reasons fell — barely — below 10 per 100,000 residents. CDC figures put the county’s virus-related admission rate at 9.9 per 100,000 residents.
That was good enough to escape the “high” category, which the county entered in mid-July, raising the possibility of another indoor mask mandate. The county ultimately opted against the new mandate, citing steadily improving infection and hospitalization numbers.
Masks are still required in some settings, including health care facilities, homeless shelters, aboard transit vehicles and at transit centers, along with correctional facilities.
“While we are thankful to see our county move to the medium community level, because we know that getting infected causes disruptions at the workplace and in the family and for some, becoming infected leads to debilitating illness, we advise caution, and ongoing use of a sensible approach for reducing the risk of exposure and preventing severe illness,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Friday. “All tools available help: getting vaccinated and boosted reduces risk of severe illness, testing before and after gathering, wearing masks when indoors, and staying home and away from others when sick reduces transmission.”