The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals rose back over the 400 mark again Friday as health officials again urged people to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent a winter strain on the health care system.
“Over 7 million people in L.A. County face waning immunity from their previous vaccine and booster doses, and with few community-wide safety measures in place, more people may be vulnerable this fall and winter,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Getting vaccinated for flu and boosted for COVID-19 is likely to help keep many of us out of the hospital, which could help keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.”
According to state figures, there were 407 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Friday, up from 390 on Thursday. Of those patients, 42 were being treated in intensive care units, up from 37 a day earlier.
County officials have said that roughly 40% of COVID-positive hospital patients were admitted specifically for COVID, while the others were hospitalized for other reasons but tested positive upon admission.
Ferrer told reporters Thursday the county has seen slight upticks over the past week in some virus-tracking metrics, most notably the weekly infection rate, after months of steady declines. She said the increases were not an immediate cause for concern, but officials plan to closely monitor the trends heading into cooler winter months, which have led to surges in cases the past two years.
The county reported 1,220 new COVID infections on Friday, raising the overall number from throughout the pandemic to 3,485,787. The daily number of reported new cases is an undercount of actual infections in the county, due to the prevalence of at-home tests — the results of which are not always reported to the county.
Another 11 virus-related deaths were also reported Friday, giving the county an overall death toll of 33,951.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 3.9% as of Friday.