COVID patient
COVID Patient in Hospital - Photo courtesy of Mongkolchon Akesin on Shutterstock

Los Angeles County reported another 13 COVID-19-related deaths Wednesday, along with 643 new infections.

The new fatalities lifted the county’s death toll from throughout the pandemic to 35,864.

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.

The 643 new infections gave the county a cumulative case number from throughout the pandemic of 3,717,526. Overall case reports from the county are considered to be undercounts of actual virus activity, due to the number of people who use at-home tests and don’t report the results, or those who don’t bother testing at all.

According to state figures, there were 487 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, up slightly from 474 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 55 were being treated in intensive care units, down slightly from 56 a day earlier.

Some of the patients were initially hospitalized for other reasons and learned they had COVID after a mandated test.

The county’s COVID test positivity rate was holding steady at 4.9%.

Some local health orders prompted by the pandemic ended Monday, 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 was 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.

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