The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals dropped significantly, falling by 47 people to an even 1,200, according to the latest state figures.
The number of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, July 23, who were being treated in intensive care was 114, down from 120 on Friday, July 22. The number of COVID-positive patients statewide dropped by 85 to 4,626.
The county on Monday reported 6,914 new infections from Saturday, 5,333 from Sunday and 3,072 on Monday. The county no longer reports case numbers on weekends, so it issues three-day totals on Mondays. The new cases gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,268,588. The numbers reported by the county are believed to be an undercount, due to the wide use of at-home tests, the results of which are not always reported to health officials.
Another 33 deaths were also reported on Monday for the three-day reporting period, raising the overall virus-related death toll in the county to 32,637. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 14.3% as of Monday, down from roughly 16% last week.
Despite Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger‘s doubt about the effectiveness of masks, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has repeatedly stressed during recent briefings that studies have proven that masks drive down transmission rates. Ferrer called mask-wearing an easy, “sensible” step that can protect against virus spread, particularly in indoor settings.
Barger said in her open statement Monday that she does not oppose mask-wearing, saying it “makes a lot of sense for individuals who want or need an extra layer of protection.”
“I support our current COVID-19 public health masking policies, which require their use while using public transportation, in hospitals, homeless shelters and jails. However, imposing a onesize-fits-all masking mandate now for all is not something I can or will support,” Barger wrote.
The Los Angeles County Business Federation issued a statement last week also opposing a mask-wearing mandate, saying it will put undue burden on small businesses that will have to enforce the requirement. Although dozens of counties in California are also in the “high” virus-activity category, Los Angeles County is the only one considering a mask mandate. Ferrer has acknowledged a lack of any formalized enforcement plan, saying the county relies primarily on education in hopes of convincing people to wear face coverings. She also said the county does not expect business owners to become enforcement agents.
“We rely heavily on people understanding why it’s important for us to add in this layer of protection at this point, and most people in the past have gone ahead and been compliant,” Ferrer said. “We’ll continue to work with everyone and make sure there’s good information.”