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LA County reports about 3,600 COVID cases Thursday, hospitalizations up a bit

Los Angeles County reported another 3,602 COVID-19 infections on Thursday, Jan. 5, while the number of virus-positive patients in hospitals rose slightly.

There were 1,287 COVID-19-positive patients in county hospitals as of Thursday, up from 1,262 a day earlier. Of those patients, 133 were being treated in intensive care units.

The number of virus-positive patients locally has hovered between 1,200 and 1,300 for the past two weeks.

Health officials have said previously that roughly 40% of those patients were actually admitted because of the virus, while the others were hospitalized for different reasons and tested positive upon admission.

The 3,602 new infections reported Thursday lifted the county’s cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,644,850.

The number of new cases reported each day is an undercount of actual virus activity, health officials have said, because many residents rely on at-home tests without reporting the results while others don’t test at all.

The Department of Public Health reported 28 more virus-related deaths on Thursday, giving the county an overall death toll of 34,783.

The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 12.8% as of Thursday, down from a revised 13.2% on Wednesday and below the 14.9% rate from a week ago.

L.A. County remains in the federal government’s “medium” transmission range.

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Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Otherwise, they are only strongly recommended at indoor settings.

During a briefing last week, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said she was “hopeful that we can get through this winter without the devastation witnessed during our previous two winter surges, while recognizing that there are still significant risks, especially with the potential of a new COVID strain.”

“We can kick off 2023 in a positive way,” she added, “by taking some common-sense precautions during upcoming celebrations.”

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