Los Angeles County has seen a major drop in the number of COVID-19 patients at county hospitals, according to the latest state data released Tuesday.
The county’s total has fallen to 474 COVID-positive patients, down by 100 since Saturday. Of those patients, 56 were being treated in intensive care, about the same as Saturday’s figure. The statewide total has fallen to 2,217 patients, and has been gradually declining over the last several weeks.
Some of the patients were initially hospitalized for other reasons and learned they had COVID after a mandated test.
On Tuesday, local health officials reported another 774 cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths linked to the virus. That brings the county’s cumulative totals to 3,716,873 cases and 35,853 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
A majority of people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, health officials have said.
The county’s COVID test positivity rate was holding steady at 4.8%.
Overall case reports from the county are also considered to be undercounts of actual virus activity, due to the number of people who use at-home tests and don’t report the results, or those who don’t bother testing at all.
Meanwhile, some local health orders prompted by the pandemic ended Monday, with COVID-19-related emergency declarations set to end in Los Angeles County at the end of the month.
Most notably, the county’s rule that people exposed to the virus wear a mask for 10 days was dropped as of Monday, according to the health department. Such mask wearing will be “strongly recommended,” but it will not longer be required. Health officials urged that people who are exposed be tested as soon as possible, then test again within three to five days.
Also starting Monday, people who test positive for the virus must isolate for five days, but may leave isolation after that as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. A negative test will no longer be required to leave isolation between days six and 10, although health officials strongly recommend that people do so.
People who are infected should wear a mask if they are around others for a total of 10 days, but they can stop wearing a mask after day five if they have received two negative tests taken at least a day apart.
As of April 3, the state is dropping its vaccination requirement for workers at correction, detention and adult-care facilities. The vaccination requirement will remain in place for health care workers, who also must wear a mask during patient care and in patient care areas.