The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals fell for the eighth consecutive day Tuesday, while health officials again reported continued drops in daily case numbers and the rate of people testing positive for the virus.
According to state figures, there were 3,710 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Tuesday, down from 3,720 a day earlier. Of those patients, 719 were in intensive care, down from 749 a day earlier. A little more than a week ago, there were more than 4,800 COVID- positive patients, but the number has been steadily declining. County officials have said that many COVID-positive patients entered a hospital for other reasons and only discovered they had the coronavirus after a mandated test.
The county Department of Public Health reported 8,786 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 2,668,094. In early January, daily new case numbers topped 40,000. Another 37 virus-related deaths were also reported Tuesday, raising the overall death toll to 28,998. Of the 37 people who died, 26 had underlying health conditions, according to the county.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 8.9% as of Tuesday, roughly the same as Monday’s 8.8% rate. That rate was above 20% earlier this month. The declines are being seen as continued signs that the winter virus surge fueled by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is waning.
“The declines we are seeing are a hopeful sign that many of the disruptions experienced during this surge will begin to dissipate,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Staffing shortages at schools, hospitals, public safety agencies and businesses have interrupted essential services and the sheer number of residents infected, completely stressed our healthcare providers.
“Slowing the spread is always helped by many integrated public health interventions and we are grateful to all who continue to layer in protections and take personal responsibility for getting us back down to low rates of COVID-19 transmission,” Ferrer said. “While we have turned the corner, we will need to remain cautious in order to maintain this downward trend.”
According to figures released last week, 81% of eligible county residents aged 5 and above have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 72% are fully vaccinated. Only 32% are fully vaccinated with a booster shot. Of the county’s overall 10.3 million population, 77% have received one dose, 69% are fully vaccinated, and 31% are vaccinated and boosted.
The vaccination rate among children aged 5-11 remains low, with only 31% having received at least one dose, and only 21% fully vaccinated. Ferrer said the low vaccination rate among children “creates significant vulnerability for spread” of the virus.
Of the more than 6.5 million fully vaccinated residents in the county, 580,942 have subsequently gotten infected with COVID, for a rate of 8.9%. That’s a notably higher rate than December, when it was 2%, an increase Ferrer attributed to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. But the number of fully vaccinated residents who have been hospitalized was 6,998 as of this month, for a rate of 0.1%. The number who have died is 886, for a rate of 0.01%.