COVID-19 hospitalizations tumble to 459 in LA County

LOS ANGELES — The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has dropped to 459, while the county registered another 13 virus-related deaths in its latest data.

The 459 COVID-positive patients was below the 487 reported in the county on Tuesday, according to state figures. Of those patients, 56 were being treated in intensive care, up from 51 a day earlier.

County officials have said that roughly 40% of COVID-positive patients were admitted specifically for COVID, while the others were hospitalized for other reasons but tested positive upon admission.

The 13 new virus-related deaths lifted the county’s cumulative death toll to 33,785.

Another 841 infections were reported, giving the county an overall total from throughout the pandemic of 3,468,152.

Daily case numbers reported by the county have been falling steadily for weeks, although health officials have conceded that the official figures could be misleading due to residents primarily using at-home tests that aren’t reported to the county.

The seven-day average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 4.6% as of Wednesday.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer last week urged residents to take advantage of new COVID-19 booster shots, noting that they are specifically engineered to combat Omicron variants of the virus, which are the most common in circulation. She also noted that protection residents got with the original series of shots is likely waning, raising their risk of infection and more severe illness.

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“While the original vaccines do continue to provide significant protection against severe illness and death, it is important to know that these early vaccines may provide less protection against the transmission of the virus,” Ferrer said in a statement Friday. “For the county’s vulnerable residents who are 65 and older, it is especially important to get the new, updated fall booster. Keeping older and more vulnerable residents safe also means testing before gathering indoors and staying away if we are sick. With the cooler weather and fall holidays, many more of us will be staying indoors, gathering with others, or traveling, so it is still practical to follow all health safety measures.”