LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County's coronavirus numbers continue to gradually decline, according to the latest weekly update provided by the county's health department.
Officials reported 2,157 new cases of COVID-19 and 35 additional deaths associated with the virus for the week ending May 22, although some of the deaths occurred earlier.
Those numbers bring the county's cumulative totals to 3,745,379 cases and 36,338 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The actual number of cases in the county is believed to be much higher due to people who don't report the results of at-home tests or don't test at all.
A majority of people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, health officials have said.
The seven-day average test positivity rate was 3.95%, up from about 3% a month ago.
The latest case and death numbers are lower than the 2,266 new COVID- 19 infections and 46 virus-related deaths reported the previous week. The week before that, 2,533 cases and 46 virus-related deaths were reported.
The county health department updates its weekly COVID data every Thursday.
The current number of COVID-positive patients at county hospitals was unavailable. The state's COVID-19 hospitalization data collection system changed as a result of the end of the federal public health emergency. To allow for this transition, COVID hospitalization data on the state health department website is paused for a few weeks since May 11.
The most recent data showed 1,149 COVID-positive patients statewide and 253 in Los Angeles County. Some of the hospitalized patients were admitted for other reasons and learned they had COVID after a mandated test.
Federal emergency declarations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic are now over, but the county health department has noted that COVID-19 "continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles County, requiring ongoing efforts to reduce severe illness through readily available vaccinations, testing and treatment."
Health officials said the federal government will continue to make its supply of the therapeutic medications Paxlovid and Molnupiravir available at no cost regardless of insurance coverage, while state law requires insurance plans to cover the costs of vaccines, testing and Paxlovid through Nov. 11.