COVID hospitalizations continue to decline in LA County: 'We can't afford to be complacent'

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals fell again Sunday, dropping from 1,070 Saturday to 1,053, according to state figures.

The number of those patients in intensive care also fell, from 324 to 310.

Those numbers come one day after local health officials reported 29 new deaths and 2,130 additional cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 1,442,808 cases and 25,828 fatalities since the pandemic began.

Of the 29 deaths reported Saturday, three people who passed away were over the age of 80, nine people were between the ages of 65 and 79, seven were between 50 and 64, and seven were between 30 and 49. Three deaths were reported by the city of Long Beach.

Health officials have said that about 90% of the people who have died of coronavirus complications in Los Angeles County had underlying health conditions.

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Testing results were available for more than 8,450,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. Saturday's test positivity rate was 1.3%.

"With hundreds of outreach teams and promotoras fanning out across the county, we are hopeful that those not yet vaccinated are getting their questions answered and being connected to vaccination sites," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We can't afford to be complacent with an average of 2,000 new cases and dozens of deaths each day. In order to be better prepared for the fall and winter, typically seasons when many viruses thrive, we need to immediately reduce COVID transmission. Given the powerful tools at our disposal that we didn't have last fall -- rapid antigen tests and highly effective vaccinations -- the high number of cases is troubling and reflects the unevenness of vaccination coverage and screenings."

Ferrer said Friday that officials have the network in place to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people eligible for them, adding that she was not surprised by a federal recommendation to limit the boosters to older residents and those at high risk of severe illness from the virus.

During an online briefing, Ferrer said the county has 1,300 fixed vaccinated sites in its network, with the overall capacity to administer 130,000 shots a day -- and quickly able to expand if needed to 200,000 per day.
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