Home test kit
A home COVID-19 test kit. Courtesy NIH

Another 2,151 COVID-19 cases were reported by Los Angeles County Tuesday, along with four additional deaths.

The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals dipped slightly to 479, down from 486 on Monday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 54 as of Tuesday, up two from the previous day.

The new cases reported Tuesday lifted the county’s overall total from throughout the pandemic to 2,976,323. The four new deaths gave the county a cumulative virus-related death toll of 32,133.

Health officials said the numbers announced Tuesday are likely artificially low due to reporting delays from the holiday weekend.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 4% as of Tuesday. The Department of Public Health noted that the rate is more than double what it was a month ago, when it was 1.8%.

“With high rates of transmission across L.A. County, there is increased risk that our most vulnerable, including essential workers and the elderly, can get infected, seriously ill, or tragically pass away,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

“And with outbreaks increasing across nearly every sector, protecting those most vulnerable becomes everyone’s responsibility. The most important steps we can take is to be up-to-date on vaccinations and boosters, wear a mask indoors when around others, and get tested if we feel sick, were exposed, or are gathering with others. When we take these steps, we take care of each other.”

The recent upward surge in infections has led to an increase in virus-related hospitalizations, although far less than the winter surge. County health officials noted that the county has averaged 452 daily virus-related hospital patients over the past week, a 92% jump from one month ago.

The county has also reported upticks in outbreaks on school campuses and in skilled nursing facilities.

Staff at nursing facilities are now required to wear N95-level masks at all times and undergo twice-weekly testing, while residents must undergo weekly testing. All communal dining has also been halted, and all non-essential indoor group activities are being paused.

Los Angeles County remains in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “medium” category of virus activity. Under CDC guidelines, counties in the “medium” category will move to “high” if the rate of new virus-related hospital admissions reaches 10 per 100,000 residents, or if 10% of the county’s staffed hospital beds are occupied by COVID-positive patients.

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