Los Angeles County reported another eight COVID-19 deaths and 826 new cases in its latest data, but health officials said the unusually low numbers are likely the result of weekend reporting delays.
The new fatalities lifted the countywide death toll from the virus to 26,320, while the cumulative case total from throughout the pandemic rose to 1,471,645. Officials have said that about 90% of the fatalities associated with COVID-19 occurred in people with underlying health conditions.
According to state figures, there were 667 COVID-positive hospital patients in the county as of Monday, up from 656 on Sunday. The number of those patients in intensive care was 195, down from 202 on Sunday.
The number of COVID patients in county hospitals has declined 36 times in the past 42 days.
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As of Monday, the rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.9%.
The health department also reported over the weekend that between Aug. 29 and Sept. 25, unvaccinated Black and Latinx people had the county's highest infection rates, with 587 to 594 new cases per 100,000 people. Across all racial and ethnic groups, infection rates among unvaccinated people remained two to three times higher than among vaccinated people.
Black residents also had the highest hospitalization rates among both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, with a rate of 62 hospitalizations for every 100,000 unvaccinated people, 27% higher than the rate in the next highest group, Latinx residents.
Among unvaccinated people, white residents had the highest death rates of all groups, followed closely by Latinx and Black residents.
"The higher rates of hospitalization and death among Black and Latinx residents is a tragedy that reflects longstanding inequities in access to the resources that promote good health and prevent chronic illness," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "As we approach cooler weather and the accompanied substantial disease spread, these numbers are a reminder of the importance of remaining focused on bringing the vaccine to unvaccinated individuals, especially those with risk factors associated with social and economic inequities that increase their risk of severe illness. The end of the pandemic is directly related to our collective behavior."
Friday marked the first full day of new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees and customers at indoor portions of bars, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges in Los Angeles County. Employees and patrons of such businesses must show proof of at least one dose of vaccine, while two doses will be required beginning Nov. 4.
Unvaccinated customers and employees can still be in outdoor portions of affected establishments.
Meanwhile, people aged 12 and over attending outdoor mega-events of 10,000 or more people are now required to show proof of either full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours. The requirement affects ticketed sporting events, outdoor concerts and theme parks that have 10,000 or more people in attendance.
Mask-wearing is also be required at all such events.
The vaccination-or-testing requirement was already in place for large indoor events of 1,000 people or more.
Overall, 78% of eligible county residents aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 70% are fully vaccinated. Of the county's overall 10.3 million population, including 1.3 million kids under age 12 who are ineligible for the shots, 67% have at least one dose, and 60% are fully vaccinated.