COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County fell below the 1,000 mark for the first time since late July, in the most recently released data, continuing a steady decline from a summer peak of nearly 1,800 in mid-August, but daily deaths remained disturbingly high.
According to state figures, there were 991 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, a drop from 1,018 on Tuesday. There were 305 patients in intensive care, down from 312 a day ago.
The number of COVID-positive hospital patients in Los Angeles County has dropped for nine consecutive days and 22 of the past 23 days.
While hospitalizations have declined, fatalities due to the virus have remained elevated, with the county on Wednesday reporting another 41 COVID deaths. Those deaths lifted the county’s overall pandemic death toll to 25,911.
The county Department of Public Health also reported another 1,750 infections on Wednesday, for a cumulative pandemic total of 1,448,065.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 1.7% as of Wednesday, up from 1.4% on Tuesday.
County health officials noted that new COVID infections have been declining at skilled nursing facilities, which have a vaccination rate of 88% among residents and 90% among staff. For the week ending Sept. 12, only 55 cases were confirmed among SNF residents and staff, well below the 123 that were reported during the weekend ending Aug. 8.
Over the past three weeks, an average of 65 new cases have been reported at the facilities weekly, according to the county.
“The decline in cases at skilled nursing facilities is welcomed news and reflects the high vaccination coverage at these facilities along with the stringent infection control measures,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “We continue to prioritize and support skilled nursing facilities with third doses for those residents who are immunocompromised and are prepared to ramp up these efforts once boosters are approved. The decline in cases and deaths at nursing homes is an important reminder of just how powerful the vaccines are in preventing serious illness and death from COVID- 19.”
In hopes of boosting vaccination rates across the region, the county will begin enforcing vaccine requirements next month at large event venues and in high-risk settings such as indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries.
A new county Health Officer Order issued Friday will require proof of vaccination for all customers and employees at indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries. All patrons and employees will need at least one dose of vaccine by Oct. 7, and a second dose by Nov. 4. The order will recommend, but not require, vaccinations for people at indoor restaurants.
The new order will also require all attendees and employees at outdoor mega-events with 10,000 people or more to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. That requirement, which will take effect Oct. 7, will affect all major outdoor sporting events, and will also impact large theme parks, such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
According to numbers released Friday, 76% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 67% are fully vaccinated. Of the county’s overall 10.3 million populace, including those 12 and under who are ineligible for shots, 65% have received at least one dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated.