The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospital intensive care units climbed near the 800 mark Monday, while another 27 virus-related deaths were reported.
The overall number of COVID-positive patients in the county rose slightly to 4,573 on Monday, up from 4,568 on Sunday, according to state figures. That ended a three-day streak of falling hospital numbers. But ICU numbers have continued climbing, with the state reporting 794 COVID-positive patients in intensive care in the county as of Monday, up from 774 a day earlier.
The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county maintained its downward pattern, falling to 13.5% as of Monday. That’s down from 15.1% on Sunday, 16.1% on Saturday and 17.4% from a week ago. The testing-positivity rate topped 20% earlier this month. The rate was less than 1% late last year prior to the Omicron-variant surge in infections.
Another 27 virus-related deaths were reported Monday by the county Department of Public Health, lifting the county’s overall death toll from COVID to 28,507. The county also reported 25,784 new infections, raising the cumulative case number from throughout the pandemic to 2,519,778.
County officials noted that a Feb. 1 deadline is approaching for all health care workers — who are required to get vaccinated against COVID — to receive a booster shot as well. At skilled nursing facilities in the county, 91% of residents are vaccinated, along with 97% of staff. Roughly 82% of eligible SNF residents have received booster shots, but only 65% of staff have done so as of Jan. 9.
“The recent increase in deaths has, sadly, included a small number of our most vulnerable residents living in nursing homes,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Fortunately, with more than 80% of residents up to date on their vaccinations, while this surge has resulted in terrifying increases in cases at nursing homes, most residents who are infected are fully vaccinated and experiencing milder illness. Given the evidence of waning protection from our vaccines over time, efforts need to continue with urgency on making sure that all eligible residents and staff are boosted as soon as possible.”
According to the county, 81% of eligible county residents aged 5 and above have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 72% are fully vaccinated. Only 31% are fully vaccinated with a booster shot. Of the county’s overall 10.3 million population, 76% have received one dose, 68% are fully vaccinated, and 29% are vaccinated and boosted.
Ferrer said last week that roughly half of the COVID-positive patients in county hospitals were actually admitted for reasons other than COVID, and only discovered they were infected when they were hospitalized. But Ferrer said even if a patient was admitted for a reason other than COVID, a virus- positive patient still requires more “resource-intensive precautions” that result in strain on short-staffed hospitals.