COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County fell below the 1,000 mark Wednesday for the first time since late July, continuing a steady decline from a summer peak of nearly 1,800 in mid-August.
According to state figures, there were 991 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles county hospitals as of Wednesday, a drop from 1,018 on Tuesday. There were 305 patients in intensive care, down from 312 a day ago.
The number of COVID-positive hospital patients in Los Angeles County has dropped for nine consecutive days and 22 of the past 23 days.
While hospitalizations have declined, fatalities due to the virus have remained elevated, with the county on Tuesday reporting another 32 COVID deaths. Those deaths lifted the county's overall pandemic death toll to 25,870.
The county Department of Public Health also reported another 1,238 infections on Tuesday, for a cumulative pandemic total of 1,446,348.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 1.4% as of Tuesday, roughly the same as the 1.2% rate on Monday.
The county noted that a new state rule took effect Monday, requiring all attendees at indoor events of 1,000 people or more to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID. Attendees will have to show proof — with "self-attestation" no longer an option.
"The surge in cases we experienced this summer was driven in part by the more infectious Delta variant and by the universal intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination and testing status were unknown," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
"Safety measures at places where large crowds gather with many opportunities for intermingling such as universal masking and negative test or vaccination status verification requirements are sensible measures that lower the risk for transmission of the virus at higher risk settings. Our hope is that with full implementation of these mandates, we create conditions that don't favor a continual cycle of surges fueled by new variants of concern."
In hopes of boosting vaccination rates, the county will begin enforcing vaccine requirements next month at large event venues and in high-risk settings such as indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries.
A new county Health Officer Order issued Friday will require proof of vaccination for all customers and employees at indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries. All patrons and employees will need at least one dose of vaccine by Oct. 7, and a second dose by Nov. 4. The order will recommend, but not require, vaccinations for people at indoor restaurants.
The new order will also require all attendees and employees at outdoor mega-events with 10,000 people or more to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. That requirement, which will take effect Oct. 7, will affect all major outdoor sporting events, and will also impact large theme parks, such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
According to numbers released Friday, 76% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 67% are fully vaccinated. Of the county's overall 10.3 million populace, including those 12 and under who are ineligible for shots, 65% have received at least one dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated.