ICU patient and nurse
A nurse assists a coronavirus patient in an intensive care unit in Los Angeles. Image from LA County video

Los Angeles County’s death toll from COVID-19 has moved closer to the grim milestone of 25,000, with health officials confirming another 30 fatalities due to the virus, along with more than 2,900 new infections.

The 30 new deaths reported Tuesday lifted the countywide toll from throughout the pandemic to 24,935. The number of people hospitalized with COVID jumped to 1,754, according to state figures, up from 1,679 on Monday. There were 397 people being treated in intensive care, down from 402 a day ago.

The county Department of Public Health logged another 2,907 COVID infections, noting that the number may still be low due to continued delays in reporting from the weekend. The total number of cases confirmed throughout the pandemic rose to 1,355,698.

The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 3.5% as of Tuesday, nearly half the rate from two weeks ago.

Continued spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 prompted health officials on Monday to issue a new health order that will require all attendees at outdoor “mega-events” with 10,000 or more people to wear face masks. The rule, which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, will affect sporting events such as Dodgers, Rams and Chargers game, along with LAFC and Galaxy soccer matches.

The mask-wearing requirement will apply to all attendees, regardless of vaccination status.

Public health officials said Tuesday that inspectors have been finding generally good adherence to public health rules at businesses such as restaurants, bars, breweries, hotels, gyms, stores and manufacturing businesses. The most common violation detected involved employers failing to provide face masks for employees, and employees not wearing them. Some businesses also lacked required signs warning customers that masks are required indoors.

Officials said “there is some room for improvement” in terms of business compliance, particularly at gyms and food and garment manufacturing plants.

“Many businesses and work sites are doing their part and we thank all the establishments and businesses that are implementing safety recommendations, including requiring attendees to be vaccinated and layering masking and distancing,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

“To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, universal masking is now required at all outdoor mega-events where thousands of people from many different communities are crowded together, often for extended periods of time. The most sensible way to add protection is to please keep your mask on when in indoor public places or work sites and at outdoor mega events when not eating or drinking.”

The county over the weekend began offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines to people with compromised immune systems. Health officials urged people to consult their doctors to confirm their eligibility for the third shot, which should be administered at least 28 days following the second dose.

Meanwhile, federal officials are believed to be on the verge of authorizing booster shots for most vaccinated people.

The Washington Post reported that federal health and science officials “are coalescing around the view that people will need the boosters eight months after being fully vaccinated.” The newspaper said administration of the boosters would begin in mid- or late September. Particulars of the plan were still being developed, according to reports.

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