COVID in Los Angeles: L.A. County hospitalizations hit highest number since March

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The number of hospitalized COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County has reached its highest number since March, according to the most recent state data.

As of Saturday, hospitalizations stood at 402, one more than Friday. The number of those patients treated in intensive care was 44, up from 47 the day before.

Health officials have noted in recent weeks that the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-positive patients were admitted for reasons other than the virus, with many only discovering they were infected when tested in hospital.

The county reported 3,180 new COVID infections on Friday, bringing the overall total for the entire pandemic to 2,929,950.

Ten more virus-related deaths were also reported, bringing the cumulative local death toll to 32,074.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 3.7%, up from 3.5% the day before.

Los Angeles County does not report coronavirus data on weekends.

Meanwhile, with the number of COVID-19 cases steadily rising, enough to push the county to the “medium” virus risk level, health officials have extended the requirement for masks to be worn on public transportation and at transportation hubs.

The health order was issued in late April and requires masks in transit vehicles and in hubs such as airports and train stations.

However, the requirement expired in a matter of days. The county Public Health Department announced Friday that the mandate has been extended for another 30 days or until the county sees a sharp drop in virus transmission, whichever comes first.

Masks were previously required nationwide on public transportation and in transportation facilities, but a federal judge struck down the requirement last month.

The county initially followed the ruling and the mandate was removed at the local level, but when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose to appeal the ruling, the county issued a new health order reinstating the mandate. local requirement.

The requirement affects people on trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-sharing vehicles, and at bus terminals, subway stations, and inland port terminals. It also affects airports, but does not extend to airplanes, which are under federal jurisdiction.

The extension of the transit mask requirement comes a day after the county moved from the CDC’s “low” community virus activity category to “medium.”

The change came as the county’s cumulative weekly rate of new COVID cases surpassed 200 per 100,000 residents, reaching 202 per 100,000.

Moving to the “medium” category did not trigger any immediate changes in health regulations in the county, which already maintained heightened precautionary recommendations that align with CDC guidelines in the “medium” classification.

These include requiring masks on public transportation and in high-risk settings such as hospitals and homeless shelters, and maintaining wide availability of vaccines and access to testing, including at-home testing.

The county does not yet require the use of masks in all indoor public places, but it is strongly recommended. Masks would become mandatory indoors if the county drops to the “high” level of COVID.

Reaching that mark would require a sharp increase in COVID-related hospitalizations.

The number of COVID-positive patients has increased in recent weeks, with the percentage of emergency room visits associated with the virus increasing as much as 5% over the past week, up from 4% the previous week.

But so far, the overall hospital statistics are still within the CDC’s parameters for the “medium” level of COVID.

Per CDC guidelines, counties in the “medium” category will move to “high” if the rate of new virus-related hospital admissions reaches 10 per 100,000 residents, or if 10% of hospital beds with County staff are busy due to COVID-19. positive patients.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday that the current rate of new COVID-related admissions in the county is 3.4 per 100,000 residents, and the rate of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive patients is of approximately 1.7%.

Ferrer said he continues to “hope” the county avoids falling into the “high” community level of COVID, but only if residents and businesses don’t “shy away” from safety practices “known to reduce transmission.” such as indoor masking and ensuring people are up to date on vaccinations.

“We know what works: masking, testing and vaccination, along with systems and policies that support the use of these and other effective safety measures,” he said in a statement Friday. “If each of us takes advantage of good access to these effective resources, I am hopeful that we can reduce transmission again, avoid strain on our health care system, and protect everyone.”

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

Copyright © 2022 by City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved.

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