Los Angeles County’s slide into another winter wave of COVID-19 cases continued Thursday, Nov. 24, when the number of county residents hospitalized with a coronavirus infection surpassed 800 exceeded.
According to the latest state figures, there were 822 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals, up 28 from the previous day. Of those patients, 96 were in intensive care, up from 101 the day before.
Health officials previously said about 40% of virus patients were actually admitted for COVID-related issues, while the rest were admitted for other reasons but tested positive in hospital.
The latest data comes a day after local health officials reported 3,077 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 other virus-related deaths, bringing the county’s total to 3,524,896 cases and 34,135 deaths since the pandemic began.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus also continued to rise, reaching 9.4% on Wednesday from 6.5% a week ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Health.
The county is now seeing an average of 1,971 new COVID infections per day for the past week, up 39% from the previous week.
The official total case counts are believed to be artificially low because residents conduct tests at home and don’t report the results to the county. The district health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, noted last week that many other people who may be infected are not being tested at all.
The county has seen steadily rising case and hospital numbers since early November, prompting health officials last week to again “strongly recommend” wearing masks in indoor public spaces. Masks are still required indoors in health and care facilities for anyone who has been exposed to the virus in the past 10 days and in locations where they are required by the operator.
“As we prepare to gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, I send my best wishes to all LA County residents and their families for a joyful celebration,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, in a statement. “We are grateful for the support and kindness residents have shown one another as we collectively respond to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. As we look forward to more winter holidays to come, getting vaccinated with the new updated Fall COVID-19 Booster gives you and your family extra protection as you plan to travel, shop and meet up with loved ones.
“As we continue to care for and protect each other by receiving the new bivalent booster and by wearing masks indoors, we will also help reduce the burden on our healthcare system and protect dedicated employees. The ministry of the essential workers is truly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”
She reiterated the continued spread of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the county, which combined with COVID-19 pose a triple threat of respiratory disease. She urged residents to get a flu shot in addition to the COVID booster vaccine.
A fully vaccinated person can still contract and transmit COVID, but health officials say the vaccines offer protection against developing severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Health officials also urged people to stay home and avoid Thanksgiving gatherings if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness.