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Uptick in COVID cases as Public Health urges caution


Los Angeles County by mid-week had logged 18,158 new COVID-19 infections over the past four days, while also recording 39 new deaths, according to figures recently released.

The new infections recorded between Saturday and Monday lifted the county’s cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,178,242. Public Health officials noted that the number of new cases could be low due to delays in reporting from some labs over the weekend.

The county no longer reports COVID numbers on weekends.

Health officials have also warned that the actual number of new infections occurring in the county is not fully reflected in the daily numbers, since many people now rely on at-home tests, the results of which are not always reported to the county.

The 39 new virus-related deaths reported late Monday lifted the overall death toll in the county to 32,451. Health officials have said that a majority of the deaths occurred in people with at least one underlying health condition, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 14.8 percent as of Monday.

As of Saturday, there were 1,014 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, with 99 of them being treated in intensive care units.

Hospital numbers have been steadily rising in recent months, an increase health officials have attributed to renewed rapid spread of the virus thanks to the infectious BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which authorities say are highly contagious and capable of re-infecting previous patients.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on July 7 that roughly 40 percent of patients with the virus were admitted for COVID illness, while

60 percent were admitted for other reasons.

She also said that given the current rate of increase in hospitalizations, Los Angeles County is on pace to reach the “high” virus activity level by later this week, which could equate to another universal indoor mask-wearing mandate by the end of the month.