Of those patients, 616 were in intensive care Saturday, down from 652 on Friday.
Some patients entered hospitals for other reasons and only discovered they had COVID after a hospital-mandated test.
The latest numbers came as local health officials reported another 84 deaths associated with the coronavirus and 9,997 new positive COVID-19 tests, bringing the county’s totals to 2,720,216 cases and 29,364 deaths since the pandemic began.
Saturday’s case numbers may reflect a lag in weekend reporting.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday that if the county wants to end the winter surge of COVID infections, “we’ll need to continue the common-sense protective measures that we know can slow COVID-19 transmission.
“These include wearing a mask when around others until transmission is lower; testing, if possible, before gathering with others, especially if you’re gathering with people at high risk, including unvaccinated, or indoors or in a crowded outdoor place where masks are not always worn, and after being exposed to a positive case; staying home and away from others if you are sick or test positive; and getting vaccinated and boosted if you’re not already up to date,” she said.
Her comments came at the end of a week that saw questions raised about the effectiveness of the county’s mask-wearing mandate, prompted by photos of football fans at SoFi Stadium largely ignoring the requirement.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the lax adherence to the mandate should lead to a reevaluation of whether it should remain in effect. But Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Mitchell said the rule will stay in place until transmission rates fall to a safer level.
Ferrer on Thursday unveiled metrics for a possible relaxing of masking orders, saying the mandate will be dropped at outdoor “mega-events” and outdoors at schools and child-care centers if COVID-positive hospitalizations in the county fall below 2,500 for seven consecutive days.
The seven-day average rate of people testing positive for the virus continued to fall, reaching 5.7% Saturday, down from 6.4% Friday and 6.7% Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
As of Thursday, Ferrer said 82% of eligible county residents aged 5 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 73% are fully vaccinated and 34% are vaccinated and boosted.
Among all 10.3 million residents, 77% have at least one dose, 69% are fully vaccinated and 32% are vaccinated with a booster shot.
Figures showed that children between 5 and 11 still have the lowest vaccine rates, with just 32% having received one dose and 23% fully vaccinated.
Ferrer noted that during the month of January, children aged 5 to 11 represented 15% of all COVID cases in the county, despite making up just 9% of the population.
Teens aged 12 to 17 accounted for 13% of all cases, while representing just 7% of the population.
“Children do get infected with COVID-19,” she said.
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.
Copyright © 2022 by City News Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.