Thirteen more COVID-19-related deaths were reported by Los Angeles County on Friday, Aug. 19, while the number of hospitalized patients with the virus fell again.
According to state figures, there were 940 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Friday, down from 996 on Thursday. Of those patients, 91 were being treated in intensive care, down from 109 a day earlier.
County officials have said that roughly 43% of the COVID-positive patients were actually admitted for virus-related illness, while the others were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested at the hospital. The 13 new virus-related fatalities raised the county’s death toll to 33,003.
Another 4,274 positive cases were reported Friday, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,375,907. The number of new COVID infections reported each day by the county is believed to be an undercount of actual virus activity, since many people use at-home tests, the results of which are not always reported to the county. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 10.1% as of Friday.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement that while case and hospital numbers are down, a large segment of the population remains susceptible to severe illness if they get infected.
“While lower case (numbers) and hospitalizations are welcomed, the continued high rate of transmission places many individuals at elevated risk of getting infected, and, for some, there can be serious consequences to a COVID infection,” Ferrer said. “People facing higher risk from COVID include many of our family and friends, along with community residents we encounter every day. Older people, people with underlying health conditions, those who are immunocompromised and those who are unvaccinated are all at elevated risk of experiencing a bad outcome if they get infected.
“There are also many who face higher risk because their job brings them close to a large number of people. These are often the people we rely on every day to provide food and medicines, to take care of us when we are sick, to drive our buses and trains, to teach and care for our children, and to provide us with essential goods and services. Others face higher risk because they live in very dense communities and overcrowded housing, where viral spread is easier,” Ferrer said.
The county Department of Public Health urged residents this week to get tested for COVID often, most notably if they have been exposed or have symptoms, before and after gatherings and when they travel. Health officials reminded residents that if they test positive, they must isolate. If they test negative but still have symptoms, they should remain at home and test again within 24 to 48 hours.