LA County COVID numbers slide again, but vigilance still urged

LA County COVID numbers slide again, but vigilance still urged

On the third anniversary of the first confirmed COVID-19 infection in Los Angeles County, the public health director on Thursday, Jan. 26, again reported declining overall infection statistics, while continuing to preach vigilance to avoid spreading the virus to vulnerable populations.

Barbara Ferrer told reporters during an afternoon briefing that the county over the past week averaged 960 new COVID infections per day, a dramatic drop from the beginning of the month, when 2,400 new cases were being reported.

She again warned however, that “with home testing and with people not testing … many cases go uncounted,” meaning there are more infections in the community than the official numbers reflect.

COVID-related hospitalizations also continue to fall, with the county averaging 104 new admissions per day aver the past week, a roughly 50% drop from 211 per day in early January.

One number that remains elevated, however, are daily virus-related deaths. The county is averaging 19 deaths per day, according to Ferrer, who said the number has hovered around 20 per day for nearly a month.

She has stressed that older residents, particularly those 80 and over, remain vulnerable to severe illness and death from the virus. She urged people to continue exercising caution around vulnerable populations, including wearing masks.

With the county moving into the “low” virus-activity level, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing masks indoors is now a matter of personal preference.

Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities in the county, and for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Ferrer said masks are highly recommended for high-risk individuals, and for people riding public transit.

The county on Thursday reported 1,095 new COVID cases, lifting the cumulative official total from throughout the pandemic to 3,672,125.

Another 23 deaths were reported, giving the county an overall virus-related death toll of 35,212.

The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals was 729 as of Thursday, down from 755 a day earlier. Of those patients, 90 were being treated in intensive care units.

The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 5% on Thursday, holding roughly steady from the past week.