The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals increased by 32 people to 779, according to the latest state figures out Wednesday.

Of those patients, 77 were being treated in intensive care, up from 68 the previous day.

The state had reported 807 COVID-positive patients in the county on Tuesday, but amended those figures Wednesday.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recently reported that about 60% of COVID-positive patients were actually admitted for other reasons before testing positive for the virus. But she noted that regardless of their reason for admission, being COVID-positive means they require increased infection-control measures at hospitals.

On Tuesday, county health officials reported 3,671 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths linked to the virus, bringing the county’s cumulative totals to 3,105,867 cases and 32,316 fatalities since the pandemic began.

Tuesday’s test positivity rate was 12.2%, nearly double the rate of two weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Dr. Paul Simon, the department’s chief science officer, said last week that the rate of increase in COVID-positive patients had begun to diminish, pushing back the estimate of when an indoor mask-wearing mandate might be re-imposed.

As of last Thursday, the current seven-day average of daily new hospital admissions of people with the virus was 84, only a small bump from 83 the previous week.

The rate of hospital admissions for the past week was 7.3 per 100,000 residents. That was the same rate as the previous week, ending a steady trend of increases that has raised the possibility of a new universal indoor mask mandate in the county.

Under metrics set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the county would move from the “medium” category of virus activity to the “high” level if the rate of new hospital admissions reaches 10 per 100,000 residents. If the county reaches the high level and stays there for two weeks, a new indoor mask mandate will be imposed.

County health officials previously projected that at the previous rate of increase, the county would reach the “high” category by the end of the June, or early July. But with the pace now slowing, Simon said the current projection is that the county won’t reach the “high” category until at least mid-July.

He noted that the county could avoid reaching that level at all if transmission of the virus begins to slow, leading to an anticipated drop in hospitalizations.

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