The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals tumbled below the 1,000 mark Wednesday, while more than 1,400 new infections were reported.
According to state figures, there were 958 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, down sharply from 1,024 that were reported last Saturday, the last day for which figures were previously released. New figures show the number of patients dropped every day since Saturday to reach 958 by Wednesday.
Of those patients, 104 were being treated in intensive case units, down from 125 on Saturday.
The county reported 1,414 new COVID infections on Wednesday, raising the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,663,899.
Health officials have stressed that the official number of cases is an undercount, due to the large number of people who rely on at-home tests without reporting the results to the county. Other people don’t test at all, despite being possibly infected, officials said.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 6.1% as of Wednesday, roughly the same as a week ago.
Another 21 virus-related deaths were reported by the county Wednesday, giving the county an overall death toll of 35,052.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week the seven-day average daily number of new virus infections in the county was about 1,900, down from about 2,300 at the beginning of January. The county was averaging 162 virus-related hospital admissions per day last week, down from 192 in late December and from 211 in early January, she said.
The county was also averaging 23 new COVID-related deaths per day, up from 15 during the past week in December. Ferrer said the increase was expected, given the spike in case numbers that occurred at the end of the year.
Ferrer also presented numbers showing the disproportionate impact of COVID hospitalizations and deaths on people aged 80 and older. She said the death rate for that age group was five times higher than the rate for people aged 65 to 79, and the hospitalization rate was three times higher.
Most people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition.
Ferrer again encouraged residents to continue taking precautions such as wearing masks in indoor settings, and ensuring they are up to date on vaccinations and boosters.
L.A. County remains in the federal government’s “medium” transmission range. Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Otherwise, they are only strongly recommended at indoor settings.