Twenty-two more coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed Friday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, while hospitalizations due to the virus continued to drop.
“I appreciate the diligent efforts everyone is making to slow the spread of COVID-19 and am grateful that daily hospitalizations and deaths have continued to decline,” county public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “This decline didn’t happen by chance — this happened because individuals and businesses are doing their part to take those actions that reduce transmission. As we move into another weekend, we can’t let our guard down.”
The 22 fatalities announced by the county Friday lifted the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 6,330.
The county also confirmed another 1,281 cases of the virus, while health officials in Long Beach reported 61 and Pasadena added 10. The total number of cases confirmed across the county since the pandemic began was at 258,587 as of Friday.
A total of 739 people were hospitalized with the virus, down from 780 on Thursday.
Health officials on Thursday issued another call for residents to be immunized against the flu, noting that thousands of people nationally are hospitalized every year due to influenza, and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, hospitals could easily become overwhelmed.
Ferrer urged residents to continue taking all basic precautions to avoid becoming ill.
“As many residents are spending more time indoors to avoid the poor air quality, I remind everyone to take precautions to minimize COVID-19 spread if you are indoors with others,” she said in a statement. “Please remember to distance from other people, wear a face covering and wash your hands frequently and to clean high-touch surfaces often if around others who are at high risk. It is important to continue to isolate from others if you are sick and to get tested for COVID-19 if you were exposed or have symptoms.”
She said earlier this week that downward trends in the county’s coronavirus case and testing-positivity rates could allow the county to move into the next tier of the state’s economic-reopening matrix by sometime in October.
The county is in the most restrictive, or “purple,” level of the state’s four-tier virus-tracking roadmap. The county already has a low enough seven-day average testing positivity rate — around 3.2% — to move to a less-restrictive tier, but average new case numbers are still too high, currently averaging 8.1 cases per 100,000 residents. The state threshold for advancing to the “red” tier is seven cases per 100,000.
Health officials are still waiting to see if the Labor Day holiday weekend results in a spike in virus cases or deaths, similar to those seen about two weeks after the Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends.