coronavirus

Hospitalizations Increase Slightly as LA County Reports 23 More COVID-19 Deaths

Daily case rates had risen over the prior four days, and officials said they would be following case numbers carefully over the upcoming week for signs of increased transmission over the Labor Day holiday.

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Los Angeles County reported 991 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 more deaths Sunday, bringing the county's totals to 260,797 cases and 6,353 fatalities.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus increased from 732 Saturday to 765, with 30% of those people in intensive care units.

The relatively low number of new cases likely reflects a weekend lag in reporting, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Daily case rates had risen over the prior four days, and officials said they would be following case numbers carefully over the upcoming week for signs of increased transmission over the Labor Day holiday.

"As we prepare for the fall, we must acknowledge that COVID-19 remains a significant threat,'' Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "The difference between now and the early months of the pandemic, is that we have a much better idea of how to effectively protect each other from becoming infected. Given the reality that as many as 50% of those infected are able to transmit the virus to others may have no symptoms, taking universal precautions in every interaction with others who are not in your household, is absolutely essential.

"We need to commit to the behaviors we know will reduce our infection rate and slow the spread of the virus: wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings with people we don't live with, washing our hands frequently, and keeping physical distance from others. These are effective tools, that when used consistently, save lives,'' Ferrer continued.

Of the new cases reported Sunday, 69% were people under the age of 50. Residents between the ages of 30 and 49 had the highest number of new cases among all age groups in the county, 34% of the new cases Sunday.

Testing results were available for 2,542,479 individuals, with 10% of all people testing positive.

Ten of the deaths reported by the county's health department Sunday were people over the age of 80, eight were between the ages of 65 and 79, three were between 50 and 64 and one was between 30 and 49 years old. Twenty-one people had underlying health conditions.

Health officials on Thursday issued another call for residents to be immunized against the flu, noting that thousands of people nationally are hospitalized every year due to influenza, and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, hospitals could easily become overwhelmed.

Ferrer urged residents to continue taking all basic precautions to avoid becoming ill.

"As many residents are spending more time indoors to avoid the poor air quality, I remind everyone to take precautions to minimize COVID-19 spread if you are indoors with others," she said in a statement. "Please remember to distance from other people, wear a face covering and wash your hands frequently and to clean high-touch surfaces often if around others who are at high risk. It is important to continue to isolate from others if you are sick and to get tested for COVID-19 if you were exposed or have symptoms.''

She said earlier this week that downward trends in the county's coronavirus case and testing-positivity rates could allow the county to move into the next tier of the state's economic-reopening matrix by sometime in October.

The county is in the most restrictive, or ``purple,'' level of the state's four-tier virus-tracking roadmap. L.A. county already has a low enough seven-day average testing positivity rate -- around 3.2% -- to move to a less-restrictive tier, but average new case numbers are still too high, currently averaging 8.1 cases per 100,000 residents. The state threshold for advancing to the "red" tier is seven cases per 100,000.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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