Los Angeles County logged another 3,351 new COVID- 19 cases for a three-day period ending Monday, April 18, while the number of virus-positive patients in county hospitals remained relatively stable.
The new infections gave the county a cumulative pandemic total of 2,853,706 cases. The county reported another 21 COVID deaths for the three-day period from Saturday through Monday, raising the overall virus-related death toll to 31,872.
The county no longer reports COVID numbers on weekends. According to state figures, there were 221 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Monday, up slightly from 213 on Sunday. Of those patients, 31 were in intensive care, up from 29 a day earlier. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.6% as of Monday.
County officials have attributed the recent rise in daily case numbers and the testing-positive rate to the BA.2 subvariant, a more infectious offshoot of the Omicron variant that caused a winter surge in cases. BA.2 is now the dominant strain of the virus in the county, believed to represent 67% of new infections.
The increase in infections has not translated into a spike in hospitalizations or deaths. However, health officials continued to urge residents to get vaccinated or receive booster shots if eligible — as a way to prevent more spread of the virus and the possibility of a more dangerous variant arising.
The county on Friday issued a revised public health order, updating requirements regarding quarantine for people exposed to the virus. Under the order, people who had close contact with a virus patient but are not showing any symptoms and do not live or work in a “high-risk setting” are not required to quarantine. However, those people should wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others for at least 10 days from their last exposure. They should also be tested for COVID as soon as possible.
“After reviewing the California Department of Public Health’s updated quarantine guidance, we elected to generally align our Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order with the guidance, with a key exception,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “With increased circulation of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant, and indications that those infected with BA.2 are more likely to be asymptomatic, Public Health requires, rather than recommends, that close contacts who are exempted from quarantine mask indoors for 10 days and test as soon as possible.”