According to state statistics, there was a small increase in COVID-positive patients at Los Angeles County hospital on Saturday. It increased by three to 290.
This was down from 47 patients on Friday.
Hospitalizations have dropped significantly from more than 4,800 in mid January during the Omicron-fueled winter surge. They are generally at their lowest levels since last summer.
These latest figures come just one day after LA County and California marked an additional milestone in the pandemic. They lifted the requirement that indoor mega-event attendees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test.
After the recent repeal of rules that required people to wear masks indoors in most places, this is the latest pandemic-era mandate. Masks are not required for outdoor mega-events and school campuses.
Los Angeles City Council decided this week that it would no longer require proof of vaccination for people entering indoor businesses.
However, health officials noted that private companies are allowed to implement their own virus-control measures, including requiring masks, checking for vaccines, or performing negative tests.
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Although mask-wearing is no longer required in all settings, it is strongly encouraged by health officials. Masks are still required in certain locations, including health-care settings aboard public transit, airplanes, and at airports and transit centres.
Barbara Ferrer, County Public Health Director, noted that COVID cases tend to rise when major public-health mandates are removed. This is because more people interact with each other. This is happening now, as the county’s long-term decline in COVID cases has suddenly stalled.
Friday’s report from the county included 1,167 new COVID cases, which is significantly more than Thursday’s 784. The county has seen a cumulative total 2,834,317 new COVID infections since the pandemic started.
Although the decline in cases has stopped, hospitalizations for COVID-19-positive patients is still on the rise. Officials at Health Canada credit widespread vaccinations with preventing serious infections.
Friday’s death toll from virus-related causes rose to 31,683. Officials from the Health Department have confirmed that most people who die from COVID complications are suffering from underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease.
Ferrer indicated Thursday that the high-infected BA.2 subvariant to COVID-19 was growing in influence in the County. This represents 32% percent of cases that were subjected to specialized laboratory sequencing, to identify the strains of the virus. This was almost twice the rate of the previous week.
BA.2 has been increasing infection rates in nations all over the world, notably Australia and other parts of Europe.
Ferrer indicated that the strain — an offshoot variant of Omicron — is likely to account for a greater percentage of local cases, as the latest figures were only two weeks old. However, she stressed that the increase in hospitalizations has not been caused by the spread BA.2.
As of Friday, the average daily rate for people who tested positive for the virus was 0.9%. This is down from 1.1% on Wednesday.
The COVID data is no longer provided by the county’s health department on weekends.