The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals rose again, with state figures showing the figure above 400 in its latest data.
The number of COVID-positive patients has bounced up and down in recent weeks, with health officials closely watching the figures as they hope to avoid another winter surge of virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
According to state figures, there were 427 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, up from 388 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 48 were being treated in intensive care units.
County officials have said that about 40% of COVID-positive patients were actually admitted to hospitals due to virus-related illness, while the others were admitted for other reasons, and in many cases only learning they were infected when they were tested at the hospital.
On Wednesday, the county reported 1,392 new COVID infections, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,490,492. The number of cases released by the county each day is an undercount of actual COVID activity, due to the widespread use of at-home tests, the results of which are generally not reported to the county.
Another six virus-related deaths were also reported Wednesday, raising the overall death toll to 33,986.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 4.8% as of Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters last week the county has seen slight upticks recently in some virus-tracking metrics, most notably the weekly infection rate, after months of steady declines. She said the increases were not an immediate cause for concern, but officials plan to closely monitor the trends heading into cooler winter months, which have led to surges in cases the past two years.