Thursday, December 22, 2022

LA County reports 5,244 new COVID cases, 21 more virus deaths over 2-day period

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Coronavirus infections continue to rise in Los Angeles County, with the health department reporting 5,244 new cases and 21 additional virus-related deaths for Thursday and Friday.

The counts weren’t updated by the county Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hospital numbers were not available because the county health department was waiting for a message from the state health department.

According to the latest state figures, there were 822 COVID-positive patients at LA County hospitals as of Thursday — an increase of 28 from the previous day. Of those patients, 96 were in intensive care, up from 101 the day before.

The county said it recorded 2,337 new cases on Friday and 2,907 new cases on Thursday, bringing the two-day total to 5,244. Ten more virus-related deaths were recorded on Friday, and eleven on Thursday.

Friday’s daily positivity rate, which reflects a seven-day moving average, was 11.2% on Friday — up from 10.6% on Thursday and 6.5% last week.

The latest figures bring the county’s total cases to 3,530,105 since the pandemic began. The cumulative death toll rose to 34,156.

Health officials previously said about 40% of virus patients were actually hospitalized for COVID-related issues, while the rest were hospitalized for other reasons but tested positive in hospital.

The official total case counts are believed to be artificially low because residents conduct tests at home and don’t report the results to the county. The district health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, noted last week that many other people who may be infected are not being tested at all.

The county has seen steady increases in case numbers and hospital admissions since early November, prompting health officials last week to again strongly recommend that people wear masks in indoor public places.

Masks are still required indoors in health and care facilities for anyone who has been exposed to the virus in the past 10 days and in locations where they are required by the operator.

“We are grateful for the support and kindness residents have shown one another as we collectively respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, in a statement Wednesday. “We look forward to another winter holiday ahead, vaccination with the new updated fall COVID-19 booster gives you and your family extra protection as you plan to travel, shop and meet up with loved ones.”

“As we continue to look after and protect each other by receiving the new bivalent booster and by wearing masks indoors, we are also helping to reduce the burden on our healthcare system and protect dedicated employees. The service of key workers is really something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”

She reiterated the continued spread of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the county, which combined with COVID-19 pose a triple threat of respiratory disease. She urged residents to get a flu shot in addition to the COVID booster vaccine.

A fully vaccinated person can still contract and transmit COVID, but health officials say the vaccines offer protection against developing severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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