The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) released an update on Dec. 29 stating that the number of COVID-19-positive patients currently hospitalized is 1,269, up from 1, 195 the previous day. In the Dec. 29 release, Public Health reported more than 3,968 new positive cases.
Earlier in the week, Public Health officials estimated that roughly 40% of patients with the virus were admitted to the hospital for COVID-related conditions, with many only learning they were infected when testing upon admission. After a spike in November, COVID-related hospital admission rates declined enough this month for the county to move out of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high” COVID activity category to “medium.”
Last week, county health officials warned that “death rates…continue to climb in Los Angeles County, especially among older people.” On Dec. 29, the county reported 25 new virus-related deaths, up from 21 the previous day. Those numbers raise the overall death toll to 34,643. As of Dec. 29, the seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 15.6%, up from 11.7% the previous week.
Health officials have urged residents to be cautious during the holiday season and “layer” protections like wearing a mask indoors to reduce the risk of transmission. While there is no mask mandate, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer advised the public to start wearing them given the high rate of transmission. Face coverings are still required indoors at healthcare and congregate-care facilities, at businesses where they are required by the owner, and for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days.