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LA County reports 2,600 COVID-19 cases; hospitalizations tick upward

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More than 2,600 new COVID-19 infections were reported in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, Jan. 11, along with 30 new virus-related deaths.

The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals rose slightly to 1,128 as of Wednesday, up from 1,101 on Tuesday, according to state figures. Of those patients, 139 were being treated in intensive care units, up slightly from 136 the previous day.

County health officials have said that roughly 40% of COVID-positive patients were admitted to hospitals specifically for virus-related reasons, while the rest were admitted for other issues and tested positive upon admission.

The 2,616 new COVID cases lifted the county’s cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,656,051.

Official case numbers are believed to be undercounts of actual virus infections in the county due to the number of people who rely on at-home tests without reporting the results to the county, and the people who don’t test at all.

With 30 new virus-related deaths reported Wednesday, the county’s overall death toll rose to 34,917.

The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 8.6% as of Wednesday, down from 10.4% a week ago.

L.A. County remains in the federal government’s “medium” transmission range. Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Otherwise, they are only strongly recommended at indoor settings.

County health officials have been expressing concern about the rise of a virus strain known as XBB.1.5, which is believed to be responsible for 40% of new cases nationally and 9% in California. The rising trend is expected to be reflected soon among Los Angeles County cases, officials said.

COVID infection rates in the county have been declining in recent weeks, but health officials noted that a “significant number” of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still being reported regularly.

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