The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals increased by 52 people to 492, according to the latest state figures released Wednesday, continuing a recent uptick that has health officials concerned about another possible cold-weather surge in transmission.
Of those patients, 43 were being treated in intensive care, down 10 from the previous day’s total.
The statewide total of COVID-positive patients rose by 99 people to 1,855.
The latest numbers come one day after the county reported another 1,433 COVID-19 infections and eight additional deaths linked to the virus, bringing its cumulative totals to 3,497,583 cases and 34,023 fatalities since the pandemic began.
Daily case numbers released by the county are an undercount of actual infections, since many residents rely on at-home tests and do not report those results to county health officials, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose slightly, reaching 5.9% as of Tuesday.
County health officials last week noted some slight increases in virus-tracking metrics, including the average daily case numbers. Combined with an earlier-than-usual flu season, health officials have been urging residents to get vaccinated against COVID and influenza.
“With recent unusually high levels of flu and other respiratory diseases, there are signs the county could be headed toward a COVID surge this fall and winter,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday. “As families are about to start their holiday travel and get-togethers, it continues to be important to follow simple steps to prevent respiratory illness and COVID-19. The first, and most important, health measure we can take is to receive the new COVID-19 bivalent booster if we are at least two moths out from our last dose.”
According to the county, while 85% of residents aged 5 and older have received their initial COVID vaccinations, only 11% of those eligible have taken advantage of the new bivalent booster, which is designed to combat the currently circulating Omicron variants of the virus.