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Home / News / Health / Health department: COVID cases slightly increase in LA County

Health department: COVID cases slightly increase in LA County

by Staff
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As the season of summer social gatherings gets into full swing, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday reminded residents to take common-sense precautions to avoid catching COVID-19 — data shows small increases in reported coronavirus cases, virus concentrations in wastewater and positive COVID tests for the past four weeks.

“With traveling and gatherings increasing during summer, protection from COVID-19 infection remains important as a new group of variants has begun to circulate nationwide,” according to a statement by the Department of Public Health. “The so called ‘FLiRT’ variants, including KP.2 and KP.3 variants, descendants of Omicron variants JN.1, are causing an increasing proportion of cases in the United States.”

Officials said that while the new variants may have mutations that make them more easy to transmit, no evidence suggests that these variants could cause more serious symptoms.

For the past three summers, LA County has seen increases in COVID infections and hospitalizations. In 2021 and 2023 cases and hospital admissions started to creep upward for in early July. In 2022, however, cases and hospitalizations began to increase in early May.

This week the county reported 106 average daily COVID-19 cases, a small increase from last week’s 83 cases. Officials said reported cases are an undercount because of the prevalence of at-home testing that is not shared with the health department. 

Also this week, new daily hospital admissions averaged 19.6, a small increase from 16.9 three weeks ago. The seven-day average number of daily COVID hospitalizations in the county was 102, with 9% of hospitalized COVID patients in intensive care units. 

Coronavirus deaths stayed “relatively low and stable,” with 1 daily average COVID-19 death this past week, officials said.

“Wastewater concentrations of SARS CoV-2, the virus that results in a COVID-19 infection, are at 16% of the most recent winter peak, an increase from 11% reported the week prior, indicating that transmission is still occurring,” according to the Public Health Department statement. “Wastewater concentrations may provide more accurate information about COVID-19 transmission levels than reported cases alone.” 

As transmission patterns continue to play out, Public Health encouraged the public to take simple precautions to reduce spreading the virus.

“Summer plans can easily be disrupted by COVID-19 illness and increased transmission continues to pose more risk for the elderly,” according to the department. “COVID-19 testing is still recommended, especially for anyone who suspects they have COVID-19 symptoms.”

The county offers free tests at pharmacies through most insurance plans. More information is at ph.lacounty.gov/COVIDtests

People who test positive should isolate from others until symptoms subside and they have no fever for 24 hours without medication, and health officials also continued to recommend people get vaccinated, including the most recent booster shot.

“Masking when around others is necessary to reduce transmission for 10 days after you tested positive or after symptoms started,” according to Public Health, which also encouraged frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer “especially before eating, after sneezing or coughing, or when in public places.”

Officials also advised people to stay home if they have any illness symptoms such as coughing, sneezing a fever or sore throat, and to communicate so that others know to be cautious about gathering if signs of infection are present. 

The Public Health InfoLine — 833-540-0473 — is available seven days a week 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and connects callers with answer to questions, free tele-health care to receive COVID-19 treatment and vaccination appointments.

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