Los Angeles County logged another 2,215 COVID-19 infections Wednesday, while the number of virus-positive patients in local hospitals continued to creep upward.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus also continued to climb upward, reaching 7.1%, up from 5.6% a week ago, according to the county Department of Public Health.
According to state figures, there were 589 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, up from 552 on Tuesday and well above the 464 number from a week ago. Of those patients, 75 were being treated in intensive care units, the same number as Tuesday.
Health officials have said previously that roughly 40% of the patients were actually admitted for COVID-related issues, while the rest were admitted for other reasons but tested positive at the hospital.
The 2,215 new infections reported Wednesday gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,511,076. The actual number of current COVID infections in the county is likely higher, with many people using at-home tests without reporting the results to health officials.
Another nine virus-related fatalities were reported Wednesday, giving the county an overall death toll of 34,081.
Local case number have been rising since the beginning of the month, health officials said, coinciding with rising fears about a cold-weather surge of infections as more people gather indoors.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week the county had a weekly average of 86 new cases per 100,000 residents, up from 65 per 100,000 the previous week. With daily case numbers continuing to increase, that rate could jump again this week.
Ferrer said if the rate rises above 100 new cases per 100,000 residents, the county will again “strongly recommend” that people wear masks indoors. Indoor mask wearing is currently only a matter of personal preference, unless an individual location or business opts to require them.
A strong recommendation for mask wearing is short of a mask-wearing mandate.