With New Year’s Eve at hand and the holiday season in the offing, on Friday, December 30, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced “three simple steps” to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
“Getting tested before gatherings, wearing a mask indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces, and staying home when sick” can combat transmission, health officials said Friday, a day the county announced 3,410 new positive cases of COVID-19.
The county also reported an additional 28 virus-related deaths and a total of 1,249 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized.
The number of daily cases on Friday represented a drop of 558 from the number reported the day before. Hospitalizations were also down 20 days, but the death toll was three more than Thursday.
The county’s seven-day average daily caseload was 2,359 on Friday, a 9% decrease from 2,595 a week ago.
The new cases announced Friday gave the county a running total of 3,631,736 infections during the pandemic. The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 15% on Friday, down from 15.6% on Thursday but up from 14.9% on Wednesday.
The health department also noted that over the past seven days, the average daily number of COVID-19 positive patients at county hospitals has held fairly steady, averaging 1,207 this week compared to 1,235 last week.
The county has also reported an average of 16 deaths a day, down from the average of 22 daily virus deaths reported a week ago, according to the agency.
Of the 28 new deaths reported Friday, three were between the ages of 50 and 64, eight between 65 and 79 and 14 people were at least 80 years old, according to county data.
The cumulative number of virus-related deaths was 34,671, as of Friday.
“Although Los Angeles County remains at a medium community level this week, based on its case rate and hospitalization numbers,” the health department said Friday, “travel and winter holiday celebrations could lead to a increase in COVID-19 cases, similar to what was experienced after Thanksgiving.”
The agency recommended several precautions, such as:
- Carrying out a home COVID-19 test before attending the celebrations.
- Wear a mask in public indoor spaces and in crowded outdoor spaces, preferably an N95, KN95 or KF94, fitted securely over the nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
“Even if they test negative for COVID-19, other respiratory illnesses are circulating at high levels this winter,” the department said, “including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, both of which can cause severe illness, hospitalization, and death. ”.
The county also recommends frequent hand washing and, most importantly, receiving a bivalent booster.
“Mortality remains very high from COVID in Los Angeles County,” health officials warned, “especially when compared to other respiratory viruses.”
Countywide, 746 residents have died from COVID-19-related illnesses since October. During the period, the health department said, there were 43 known flu-related deaths. However, modeling data from the US Centers for Disease Control estimates that the actual number was closer to 360 people, the department added.
Los Angeles County remains in the federal government’s “medium” transmission range. Masks are still required inside health care and congregate care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the last 10 days, and in businesses where the owner requires them. Otherwise they are highly recommended.
During a briefing on Thursday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said she was “hopeful that we can get through this winter without the devastation we witnessed during our previous two winter surges, while acknowledging that there are still significant risks, especially with the potential of a new COVID Strain.”
“We can start 2023 on a positive note,” he added, “by taking some common sense precautions during the upcoming celebrations.”