COVID-related hospitalizations inching downward anew in LA County

The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals fell to 633 on Tuesday, Sept. 20, down from 674 on Saturday.

Of those patients, 69 were being treated in intensive care units, down from 89 on Saturday, according to state figures.

The hospital numbers have been generally trending downward, reflecting an overall decrease in COVID transmission and infections. County officials have said about 43% of patients with COVID were actually hospitalized due to virus-related illness, while the rest were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested upon admission.

The county Department of Public Health reported another 1,520 COVID infections on Tuesday, lifting the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,442,653.

The case numbers officially reported by the county are also believed to be low due to the popularity of at-home tests, the results of which are generally not relayed to the county.

Another 14 COVID-related deaths were also reported Tuesday, giving the county an overall death toll of 33,497.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 4.5% as of Tuesday.

The county has been reporting downward trends in local infection rates and in the number of people hospitalized with the virus. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week the county’s seven-day average new case rate was on the verge of falling below 100 per 100,000 residents. When the county crosses that threshold, possibly by the end of the month, it will further relax its recommendation for indoor mask wearing.

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Masks are currently “strongly recommended” in most indoor settings. But the falling case rate will change it to an “individual preference.”

Masks continue to be required in select settings, including health care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. Masks are currently still required aboard public transit vehicles such as buses and trains, but Ferrer said that requirement could also end soon.

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