The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has climbed by 23 people to 373, departing from the recent trend that's seen the total fall from over 4,800 in mid-January, according to the latest state figures out Saturday.
The number of those patients in intensive care was 56, down by three from Friday's total.
The latest numbers came as the county reported 789 new positive COVID tests and 22 additional deaths associated with the virus, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 2,830,048 cases and 31,594 deaths, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The health department has said that the vast majority of people who die of COVID complications have underlying conditions, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.7% as of Saturday, roughly the same as it has been for the past two weeks.
On Thursday, the department reported an uptick in COVID infections attributed to the BA.2, an offshoot of the Omicron variant that spurred a winter surge in cases and hospitalizations.
According to the county, the BA.2 sub-variant accounted for 14.7% of all specially sequenced cases from the week ending March 5 -- more than double the 6.4% rate from the previous week. Experts have suggested that BA.2 is at least 30% more contagious than the Omicron variant, which was already substantially more easily spread than the original COVID-19 virus.
"As the county sees growing cases of the more-infectious BA.2 subvariant, everyone, especially those who are at elevated risk or homebound, should be fully vaccinated and boosted, and Public Health thanks our partners who are working to provide access to these life-saving vaccines for these at-risk residents," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Friday.
County officials said they are expanding mobile vaccination efforts to reach homebound residents or others who are unable to reach a vaccine clinic or pharmacy on their own. According to the county, about 9,960 residents considered homebound have been vaccinated in the county in the past year. There are believed to be a total of 10,000 to 15,000 homebound residents in the county.
Information on obtaining mobile vaccination service is available by calling 833-540-0473. Information is also available at vaccinatelacounty.com.
According to the county, as of last Sunday, 83% of eligible county residents aged 5 and older had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 75% were fully vaccinated. However, only 30% of children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate of any age group.
Among Black residents, only 55.4% are fully vaccinated, along with 58.9% of Latina/o residents, compared to 73% of white residents and 82% of Asians.