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5,000 new COVID cases reported in LA County; 12 more deaths

More than 5,000 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in Los Angeles County on Wednesday as rising case counts continued to suggest a winter viral upsurge and hospitalisation rates rose once more.

A total of 3,570,525 pandemic-related cases were recorded by the county’s Department of Public Health, including the 5,051 additional cases. Since many residents take at-home tests without reporting the results and many others choose not to get tested at all, health officials have noted that the officially reported case numbers are an undercount of the actual virus activity in the county.

On Wednesday, the county added another 12 COVID-related fatalities, bringing the total to 34,263.

In county hospitals as of Wednesday, there were 1,293 COVID-positive patients, up from 1,270 on Tuesday and more than 100 from one week prior, according to state statistics. 142 of the patients, down from 151 the day before, were receiving care in intensive care units.

As of Wednesday, 13.6% of people have tested positive for the virus on a seven-day average daily basis.

County health officials are closely monitoring hospitalisation rates for COVID, and they have issued a warning that any further increases could result in the imposition of yet another indoor mask requirement in public places.

After weeks in the “low” category, the county has already climbed into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “medium” category for viral activity.

If the weekly incidence of new infections hits 200 per 100,000 population, the county might enter the “high” category as soon as this week. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stated last week that as of last Thursday, the rate was 185 per 100,000 people.

Every Thursday, the CDC revises its classifications.

Ferrer stated that if the county’s virus-related hospitalisation statistics increase and if they cross two thresholds, the county will re-impose an indoor mask requirement.

— if there are more than 10 hospital admissions per 100,000 people per day; and

— if patients with COVID occupy more than 10% of hospital beds with staff.

As of Sunday, the CDC reported that the county had already above the first barrier, with a daily hospital admission rate of 14.5 per 100,000 people. As of Sunday, 6.6% of hospital beds were occupied by COVID patients, which is still under the 10% cutoff.

For anyone who has been exposed to the virus within the last 10 days, inside health care and congregate care facilities, and in places where the owner specifies them, masks are still required.

The county only “highly recommends” masking in other indoor areas.

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