LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County health officials reported another 20 COVID-19-related deaths and 1,197 new infections in its latest data.
The new fatalities gave the county a cumulative death toll of 35,509 from throughout the pandemic, according to the county Department of Public Health.
With 1,197 new cases, the county's overall total grew to 3,692,123. The daily case numbers released by the county are undercounts of actual virus activity in the county, due to people who use at-home tests and don't report the results, and others who don't test at all.
According to state figures, there were 689 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, up slightly from 680 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 73 were being treated in intensive care, up from 67 one day prior.
The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 6.8% as of Wednesday. The rate has been mostly steady for more than a week.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates were holding steady at a relatively low rate. The county's seven-day rate of new infections was 69 per 100,000 residents, while the seven-day virus-related hospital admission rate was 7 per 100,000 residents, both on par with the previous week.
The statistics remained flat despite the emergence of the XBB.1.5 strain of the virus as the most prevalent variant in the county, representing 32.8% of all samples that underwent specialized sequencing.
Health officials warned that the latest strain is more capable of causing infection, and they urged residents to continue being cautious to prevent spread of the illness.
Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities in the county, and for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Masks are strongly recommended for high-risk individuals, and for people riding public transit.
For all other indoor settings, wearing masks is a matter of residents' personal preference.