LA County posts nearly 1,200 new COVID cases

The number of COVID-19-infected patients in Los Angeles County hospitals fell slightly on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from Saturday’s total, while the county also reported 1,191 new infections.

According to state figures, there were 680 COVID-positive hospital patients in the county as of Tuesday, down from 697 on Saturday, the last day for which numbers had been released. Of those patients, 67 were being treated in intensive care, down slightly from 69 on Saturday.

The 1,191 new infections lifted the county’s overall total from throughout the pandemic to 3,690,901. The daily case numbers released by the county are undercounts of actual virus activity in the county, due to people who use at-home tests and don’t report the results, and others who don’t test at all.

The county reported 20 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, giving the county a cumulative death toll of 35,490.

The seven-day average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 6.4% as of Tuesday, holding roughly steady from the past week.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates were holding steady at a relatively low rate. The county’s seven-day rate of new infections was 69 per 100,000 residents, while the seven-day virus-related hospital admission rate was 7 per 100,000 residents, both on par with the previous week.

The statistics remained flat despite the emergence of the XBB.1.5 strain of the virus as the most prevalent variant in the county, representing 32.8% of all samples that underwent specialized sequencing.

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Health officials warned that the latest strain is more capable of causing infection, and they urged residents to continue being cautious to prevent spread of the illness.

Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities in the county, and for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Masks are strongly recommended for high-risk individuals, and for people riding public transit.

For all other indoor settings, wearing masks is a matter of residents’ personal preference.

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