The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has decreased to 574, down from 604 the previous day, according to the latest state numbers.
Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 57 were being treated in intensive care, up from 55 on Friday.
Some of the patients were initially hospitalized for other reasons and learned they had COVID after a mandated test.
The latest figures come one day after local health officials reported another 1,073 new infections and 11 additional deaths linked to the virus. That brings the cumulative totals to 3,714,353 cases and 35,814 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The county’s test positivity rate was holding steady at 5.6%, about the same as a week ago.
A majority of people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, health officials have said.
Meanwhile, some local health orders prompted by the pandemic are being phased out, with COVID-19-related emergency declarations set to end in Los Angeles County at the end of the month.
Most notably, the county’s rule that people exposed to the virus wear a mask for 10 days will be dropped as of Monday, according to the health department. Such mask wearing will be “strongly recommended,” but it will not longer be required. Health officials urged that people who are exposed be tested as soon as possible, then test again within three to five days.
Also starting Monday, people who test positive for the virus must isolate for five days, but may leave isolation after that as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. A negative test will no longer be required to leave isolation between days six and 10, although health officials strongly recommend that people do so.
People who are infected should wear a mask if they are around others for a total of 10 days, but they can stop wearing a mask after day five if they have received two negative tests taken at least a day apart.
As of April 3, the state is dropping its vaccination requirement for workers at correction, detention and adult-care facilities. The vaccination requirement will remain in place for health care workers, who also must wear a mask during patient care and in patient care areas.
“As we move forward, I share with many others the goal of keeping each other safe and healthy by making sure that critical resources remain available,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Because we now know so much more about COVID-19 — how it spreads, who is most vulnerable, and how we can prevent severe illness, which can also help decrease the risk for long COVID and help to avoid future health issues that may arise from a COVID infection — it remains important to work together to keep transmission low.”