Another 31 COVID-19 deaths were reported in Los Angeles County Wednesday, while the number of virus-positive patients in county hospitals ticked up slightly.
The 31 new fatalities lifted the county’s overall death toll during the pandemic to 26,226.
County health officials announced 1,479 new infections, giving the county a cumulative total of 1,466,248 since the pandemic began. The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was still low, at 1%.
According to state figures, there were 750 COVID-positive patients hospitalized in the county as of Wednesday, up from 748 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 209 were in intensive care, down from 218 a day earlier.
The number of COVID-positive people hospitalized in the county has fallen 32 times in the past 37 days, bringing the number down from a summer peak of nearly 1,800.
On Thursday, the county will begin imposing COVID-19 vaccination requirements at indoor portions of bars, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges. Employees and customers of such businesses will be required to show proof of at least one dose of vaccine. Two doses will be required beginning Nov. 4.
Unvaccinated customers and employees can still be in outdoor portions of such establishments.
Meanwhile, people aged 12 and over attending outdoor mega-events of 10,000 or more people will be required to show proof of either full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours. The requirement will affect ticketed sporting events, outdoor concerts and theme parks that have 10,000 or more people in attendance.
Mask-wearing will also be required at all such events.
The requirements were already in place for large indoor events of 1,000 people or more.
“Helping organizations and businesses comply with targeted vaccination requirements over the next few months is a focus for Public Health,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Wednesday. “We are grateful for our partnerships with businesses and cities to promote safety for workers and residents. We do need to work together to improve vaccination coverage until we reach a vaccination level so high that the virus, or a new variant of the virus, would have trouble gaining traction. The millions of individuals who remain unvaccinated unfortunately represent opportunities for viral transmission and mutation.”
According to Ferrer, as of Sept. 30, 78% of eligible county residents aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 69% are fully vaccinated. Of the overall county population of 10.3 million people, including those not yet eligible for the shots, 67% have received at least one dose, and 60% are fully vaccinated.