Hospital - Photo courtesy of Robert Linder on Unsplash

The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has spiked to more than 1,000, according to the latest state figures, as the expected cold-weather surge in virus transmission continues.

State officials hadn’t updated their hospitalization numbers since Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, when there were 822 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals. Tuesday’s data showed 1,040 such patients, with 122 being treated in intensive care, an increase from 96 ICU patients as of Thursday.

The statewide total of coronavirus patients ballooned to 3,532, an increase of 242 from the previous day and 750 more than last Thursday’s total.

Health officials have said previously that roughly 40% of virus patients were actually admitted to hospitals for COVID-related issues, while the rest were admitted for other reasons but tested positive at the hospital.

The county Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported another 2,370 COVID-19 infections, lifting the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,538,009.

Overall official case numbers are believed to be artificially low, due to residents who use at-home tests and do not report the results to the county, and others who do not get tested at all.

Another nine virus-related deaths were also reported, giving the county an overall death toll of 34,179.

The seven-day daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus also continued to climb, reaching 14.7% as of Tuesday, up from about 10% a week ago and more than double the rate from the previous week.

The county has been seeing steadily rising case and hospitalization numbers since the beginning of November, prompting health officials to again “strongly recommend” that people wear masks at indoor public settings.

Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at locations where they are required by the operator.

Health officials have been warning about a possible surge not only of COVID-19 during the winter months, but also of flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Authorities have repeatedly urged residents to ensure they are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and to get a flu shot.

A fully vaccinated person can still contract and transmit COVID, but health officials say the vaccines offer protection against developing severe symptoms that can result in hospitalization and even death.

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