LA County reports 3,123 new COVID-19 cases, fewer hospitalizations

Los Angeles County reported 3,123 new cases of COVID-19 and 89 additional deaths, bringing the county's totals to 1,146,450 cases and 18,044 deaths since the pandemic began.   

The lower number of deaths and cases may reflect reporting delays over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued to decline, dropping from 4,607 Saturday to 4,421, with 29% of those people in intensive care units. The county's hospitalization numbers have been steadily falling since peaking at more than 8,000 in early January.

Sunday's update comes one day after county health officials confirmed nine new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, bringing the total number of children infected in the county to 75, including one death.

RELATED: LA County confirms nine new cases of MIS-C in children

MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 and symptoms include fever that does not go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

All 75 children with MIS-C in L.A. County were hospitalized and 44% were treated in the ICU. Of the 75, 32% were under the age of 5, 39% were between 5 and 11, and 29% were between 12 and 20. Latino children account for 76% of the reported cases, the department said.

Officials warned the public to exercise caution for Sunday's Super Bowl to avoid a repeat of last year's World Series and NBA Finals, when gatherings at bars, restaurants and private homes were blamed for fueling a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"Despite seeing some decreases, we continue to experience widespread community transmission in our county,'' Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer
said Saturday. "The riskiest thing people can do tomorrow for Super Bowl Sunday, given our high case counts, is gather with others that don't live with
them to enjoy the game. Please don't attend or host parties that could turn Super Bowl Sunday into super-spreader Sunday. Instead, enjoy the game at home with those who live with you or connect virtually with friends and family
online to prevent another surge in cases.''

RELATED: 'Don’t let Super Bowl become superspreader,' health officials urge

Meanwhile, county officials reported slow but steady progress in COVID-19 vaccination efforts on Friday, but said less than 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and appointments for first doses will be difficult to come by next week.

At the five county-operated large-scale vaccination sites, a limited number of first doses will be administered on Monday, with the rest of the week's appointments reserved solely for people in need of their second dose of the medication, according to Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the county health department.

Simon said while the issue applies solely the county's five mega-sites, residents may run into issues at other locations, as all providers deal with short supplies of vaccines.

"Unfortunately, the biggest issue we continue to face in our ability to vaccinate is the scarcity of supply and variability in the amount of vaccine we receive from week-to-week,'' Simon said. "This has been an issue across the country and it makes planning challenging.''

According to Simon, the most recent figures indicate that more than 1.05 million vaccine doses have been administered in the county to date, including slightly more than 104,000 second doses. That means 2.6% of the county's population of people aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated so far. About 11% over the 16-and-over population has received at least one dose.

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