While overall COVID-19 numbers keep trending downward, Los Angeles County continues to register virus-related deaths, with 13 more fatalities announced in its latest data.
As of Wednesday, the countywide death toll from the virus since the pandemic began was 33,587, according to the Department of Public Health.
Another 1,353 COVID infections were reported Wednesday, raising the county’s cumulative total throughout the pandemic to 3,453,057. The infection numbers reported by the county are believed to be an undercount of actual cases due to the prevalence of at-home COVID tests, the results of which are generally not reported to health officials.
According to state figures, there were 471 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, down from 496 the previous day. Of those patients, 60 were being treated in intensive care, up from 53 on Tuesday.
County officials have said about 43% of patients with COVID were actually hospitalized due to virus-related illness, while the rest were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested upon admission.
The seven-day average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 4.7% as of Wednesday.
Speaking to the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer again urged people to get the latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, which is targeted toward recent Omicron variants of the virus. She noted that the county has dealt with surges of infections during the last two winters, but the availability of the vaccines and targeted boosters puts the area in a “much better place” that it was in the past.
“But we still need to be real about the fact the pandemic is not over,” Ferrer said, when asked about a recent comment to the contrary by President Joe Biden. She said the president’s quote — which has been widely repeated — could best be termed a “poor choice of words,” noting that Biden also said there is still “a lot of work to be done.”
“We can finally see the end,” she said. “We’re not there yet, so we’ve got to dig in and use what’s available.”
Ferrer noted that if the county does experience another surge in cases, virus-control measures such as masking rules could return.