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COVID Cases Dip, Dropping LA County To CDC’s ‘Medium’ Tier

A chart shows the 7-day average daily COVID-19 cases and death in Los Angeles County. There is a green line showing daily cases by report date, a gold line showing daily hospital admissions, and a blue line showing daily deaths.
( Courtesy L.A. County Department of Public Health)
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Reported COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County dipped to 2,600 cases on average each day, a 12% decrease from the week before. But with holiday travel and get-togethers in full swing, health officials say caution is key.

“It is possible that L.A. County will move between medium and high over the next few weeks, assuming our hospital metrics remain the same,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Why It The Tier Matters

The COVID-19 warning system from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes hospital admissions over positive coronavirus tests to account for the rise in at-home testing. Dropping to CDC's medium tier eliminates the possibility of a mask mandate in early January.

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While we don’t know exactly how many people have COVID, we do know how many are in the hospital. Currently, about 178 COVID positive people are admitted to L.A. hospitals each day. That’s a small decrease from last week, which Ferrer chalked up to antivirals, therapeutics and booster shots.

Hospital Beds Remain In Short Supply

In December there were about 210 adult hospital beds available county-wide each day and just 69 available pediatric beds — the lowest it’s been in the last four years. Hospitalization rates for people age 30 and older are higher now than they were during the summer surge.

COVID Deaths Have Sadly Increased

On average 21 people died from COVID each day last week. That’s two and half times higher than the death rate at the beginning of the month. About a quarter of the deaths are people younger than 70 years old.

A Tripledemic Requires Constant Vigilance

Flu and RSV remain high, as does COVID transmission. Keeping your mask on in public places like airports, testing for COVID before you see Grandma and getting the bivalent booster may help us avoid another surge to kick off 2023.

What questions do you have about the pandemic and health care?
Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.

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