LA County COVID Hospitalizations Drop; Deaths remain high


LOS ANGELES, CA – COVID-19 positive hospitalizations continued to decline in Los Angeles County on Friday, bringing residents one step closer to lifting outdoor mask mandates, but another 75 virus-related deaths were also reported. reported.

The 75 new deaths gave the county a pandemic death toll of 29,764. The county also reported 5,610 new cases, for a cumulative total of 2,752,398.

According to state figures, there were 2,307 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals Friday, up from 2,464 Thursday. Of these patients, 469 were being treated in intensive care, up from 492 a day earlier.

According to guidelines announced last week by the county’s director of public health, Barbara Ferrer, if the number of hospitalizations remains below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the county will consider itself entering a “post-surge” phase. , and it will lift its mask mandate for outdoor “mega-events” and outdoors in schools and daycares. Friday marked the second day of fewer than 2,500 hospitalizations.

Ferrer said Thursday that absent a sudden spike in hospitalizations, the outdoor mask mandate could be lifted as early as next Wednesday.

Ferrer again urged vaccinated residents on Friday to get booster shots, noting that the effectiveness of vaccines diminishes over time, and saying the extra dose is the best defense against a trip to the hospital due to the virus.

“Given the evidence of decreasing protection over time from COVID vaccines, eligible residents and workers should be bolstered as soon as possible,” she said in a statement. “As we consider ‘post-surge’ strategies, increasing the number of people who are optimally protected from COVID infection helps us reduce the number of people who become seriously ill and die from COVID. Appropriate actions that allow us to live with this virus without major disruptions to our lives will need to include strategies that reduce the impact of the virus on those most vulnerable.”

While the county’s outdoor masking requirements could be lifted next week, the indoor masking mandate will remain in place until much stricter criteria are met. That’s despite the state planning to lift its indoor mask requirement for those vaccinated next week.

According to Ferrer, the county’s indoor mask rule will not be lifted until the county’s virus transmission rate drops to the “moderate” level as defined by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during two consecutive weeks, or until COVID vaccines are available. to children under 5 for eight weeks.

To achieve the CDC’s “moderate” designation, the county must have a seven-day cumulative new case rate of less than 50 per 100,000 population. According to the CDC’s website, the county’s rate was 518 per 100,000 on Friday. That’s down from 622 per 100,000 population on Thursday.

Ferrer said the county’s rate is declining about 3.5% each day, and if that rate continues, the county could reach the “moderate” level of transmission in 25 to 30 days. If so, the indoor mask mandate could potentially be lifted by the end of March.

She also noted that vaccines for children under 5 could potentially be approved by the end of February.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 4% on Friday, down from 4.7% on Thursday.

As of Feb. 6, 82% of all eligible county residents ages 5 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, 73% were fully vaccinated, and 35% were fully vaccinated with a booster shot.

For the county’s overall population of approximately 10.3 million people, 78% have received at least one dose, 70% are fully vaccinated, and 33% are vaccinated and boosted.

city ​​news service

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