The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County’s hospitals declined slightly today, falling from 1,226 to 1,218, the 13th straight decline.
According to the state, the number of intensive care patients fell from 368 to 360.
The county is not reporting daily COVID-19 case and death numbers on Saturday or Sunday, and officials say the health department will be working on upgrades to its computing systems. However, the data is still being collected and reported earlier this week.
On Friday, the department reported 50 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,024 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 1,427,817 cases and 25,611 deaths since the pandemic began.
However, officials also said Los Angeles County saw its weekly infection rate decline for three straight weeks, an improvement the public health director attributed in part to mask mandates and slowly rising vaccination rates.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention benchmarks a transmission in the high category if there are 100 or more new cases accumulated per 100,000 population over the course of a week. Much of the country is currently in the “high” transmission category.
However, the rate in Los Angeles County dropped to 104 cases per 100,000 last week, a “welcome” 35% drop from the previous week, said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“This is the third week in a row that we’ve seen a drop in our case rate,” Ferrer said. “Overall, we’ve seen a drop of almost 50% from our peak of 204 cases per 100,000 population on August 19th.”
“Other parts of the country that do not have masking requirements and do not have as many vaccinations have not seen these significant decreases in cases,” she said.
If the county’s rate continues to decline and drop below 100 new cases per 100,000 population over a seven-day period, it could be placed in the CDC’s less severe “significant” transmission category.
However, Ferrer warned that a reversal of fate could still occur.
“While we welcome the declines, we believe that as routine screening tests and mixing in schools and workplaces, travel and Labor Day gatherings increase, we are at risk of our case numbers rising again,” she said.
By October 11th, you must show proof of being fully vaccinated anywhere in West Hollywood, including a restaurant, gym, or salon. Robert Kovacik will report for NBC4 News on September 10, 2021 at 11 p.m.
Ferrer also again lamented the slow pace of vaccinations in the county. She said only about 56,000 first doses were given in the county last week.
“We’re hardly making any progress,” she says.
Ferrer expressed hope that vaccination regulations, such as those announced Thursday by the Los Angeles Unified School District for eligible students 12 years and older, and by President Joe Biden for large corporate workers, will have an impact.
Of the nearly 5.4 million fully vaccinated people in the county on Sept. 7, 43,598 tested positive, at a rate of 0.81%, she said. A total of 1,243 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 0.023% and 165 have died, representing a rate of 0.0031%.
According to the latest figures, 75% of eligible district residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 66% are fully vaccinated. Of the county’s total population of 10.3 million, 65% have received a dose and 57% are fully vaccinated. This population includes approximately 1.3 million people under the age of 12 who are ineligible for syringes.
Black residents in the county continue to have the lowest vaccination rate at 51% overall with at least one dose. Among black residents aged 12 to 15, only 35% received at least one dose.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 2.6% on Friday, a slight decrease from the previous Friday.
The county announced last week that it has locally identified 167 cases of the mu variant of COVID-19. However, Ferrer said Friday that a laboratory reanalyzed samples several months ago and found that there were actually 232 cases of the mu variant and 28 cases of the lambda variant locally.
While the mu variant has raised eyebrows on concerns that it may bypass vaccines, it is not yet high enough to be considered a “worrying variant” by health officials. Ferrer said the highly infectious Delta variant is still the number one threat, accounting for almost 100% of all samples that are subjected to genetic sequencing to identify variants.