Vaccine - Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Los Angeles County reported 10 more COVID-19-related deaths and more than 1,700 new infections Wednesday, while a newly approved vaccine booster shot targeting the Omicron variant of the virus started being offered in the county.

The 10 new fatalities lifted the county’s overall death toll from throughout the pandemic to 33,227.

With 1,737 new confirmed infections, the county’s cumulative total rose to 3,421,995. Health officials have noted that official case numbers are likely low due to the number of people who rely on at-home tests but do not report the results to the county.

According to the county, there were 783 COVID-positive patients in local hospitals, up from 777 on Saturday.

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 average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 7.9% as of Wednesday, up slightly from 7.5% a day earlier.

Newly approved booster shots designed to target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron strain of the virus became available at providers throughout the county starting Wednesday. Details on where the vaccines are available can be found at vaccinatelacounty.com, or in Spanish, vacunatelosangeles.com.

The newly approved Pfizer/BioNTech booster is for those age 12 and over, while the Moderna bivalent booster is for those age 18 and older.

With the summer nearing a close and fall/winter weather ahead — pushing more people indoors — county health officials on Tuesday urged residents to get vaccinated and take precautions to prevent spread of the virus — and lower the odds of new variants evolving that could lead to another surge in infections.

“As we transition from the summer to fall, we can follow simple health measures now to reduce the potential risk of a surge,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “COVID-19 is still a dangerous virus for some of our family members, work colleagues and friends. By being fully vaccinated and boosted, especially with the new boosters against the more infectious Omicron subvariants of the virus, we are helping to protect others in our communities, especially those at highest risk for severe consequences should they become infected.”

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