LA County health officials report slight drop in COVID hospitalizations

With coronavirus transmission once again on the upswing, Los Angeles County health officials were urging people to exercise caution during Sunday's Mother's Day activities.

"Given that the virus is spreading at a high rate, Public Health asks all those gathering to celebrate and honor their moms and grandmoms this weekend to keep each other safe by testing before gathering, staying outside as much as possible, and wearing masks when indoors," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

The number of daily cases of the virus has been increasing in recent weeks, driven by the B.A.2 subvariant and various offshoots. On Friday, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health reported 3,270 new infections, lifting its overall total throughout the pandemic to 2,888,408. Six more virus-related fatalities were also reported, raising the death toll to 31,991.

RELATED: Don't let your guard down: LA County health urges COVID caution as 3k new cases are reported

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.3% on Friday, roughly the same as Thursday.

The department does not report COVID data on weekends.

In a small bit of good news, the number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals decreased by 10 people to 248, according to the latest state data released Sunday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 33, unchanged from Saturday.

The county health department also warned Friday that during the four COVID surges the county has faced, Black and Brown residents have had case rates between two and four times higher than white residents. Hospitalization rates were three to four times higher during the recent winter surge, and death rates were two to three times higher in that same period.

COVID vaccinations didn't fully rectify discrepancies between wealthy and lower-income areas. According to the county, fully vaccinated residents in high-poverty areas were still twice as likely to get infected and wind up hospitalized than fully vaccinated residents in wealthier communities.

Unvaccinated residents in high-poverty areas, meanwhile, are 12 times more likely to die from the virus than unvaccinated residents in wealthier areas.

County officials attributed the differences to factors such as frequency of exposures, overall community conditions and general health status of residents in the various areas.

Health officials have also said that the majority of people who die of COVID complications have underlying conditions, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

"As L.A. County continues in this different phase of the pandemic, Public Health's goal has not changed, and we will work with partners to reduce serious illness and deaths from COVID-19," Ferrer said. "It is simply not appropriate to tolerate disproportionality that results in higher rates of illness, death and long-term disability among some residents and workers when there are collective prevention strategies that can mitigate spread and serious illness."