LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County's slide into another winter surge of COVID-19 cases continued today, as the number of county residents hospitalized with a coronavirus infection surpassed 800.
There were 822 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals, an increase of 28 from the previous day, according to the latest state figures. Of those patients, 96 were in intensive care, down from 101 the previous day.
Health officials have said previously that roughly 40% of virus patients were actually admitted for COVID-related issues, while the rest were admitted for other reasons but tested positive at the hospital.
The latest data comes one day after local health officials reported 3,077 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional virus-related deaths, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 3,524,896 cases and 34,135 fatalities since the pandemic began.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus also continued an upward climb, reaching 9.4% as of Wednesday, up from 6.5% a week ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The county is now averaging 1,971 new COVID infections per day over the past week, a 39% increase from the previous week. Overall official case numbers are believed to be artificially low, due to residents who use at-home tests and do not report the results to the county. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis noted last week that many other people who may be infected don't get tested at all.
The county has been seeing steadily rising case and hospitalization numbers since the beginning of November, prompting health officials last week to again ``strongly recommend'' that people wear masks at indoor public settings. Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at locations where they are required by the operator.
``As we prepare to gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, I send my very best wishes to all LA County residents and their loved ones for a joyous celebration,'' county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
``We are grateful for the support and kindness residents have shown each other as together we respond to the continued challenges of COVID-19. As we look forward to other upcoming winter holidays, getting vaccinated with the new updated fall COVID-19 booster offers you and your family additional protection as you make plans to travel, shop and gather with those you love.
``If we continue to care and protect each other by getting the new bivalent booster and wearing masks indoors we are also helping to reduce stress on our health care system and protect dedicated workforce members. The service of essential workers is truly something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.''
She again noted the persistent spread of flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in the county, which are combining with COVID-19 to present a triple threat of respiratory illnesses. She urged residents to receive 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 result in hospitalization and even death.
Health officials also urged people to stay home and avoid Thanksgiving gatherings if they are sick or feeling symptoms of illness.