Los Angeles County's COVID hospitalizations down by more than 70 percent from mid-Jan. 2022

The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has fallen to 1,310, down from 1,391 one day earlier and a huge drop from the middle of last month, when it stood at over 4,800, according to the latest state figures released Monday.

The latest numbers came as local health officials reported another 21 deaths associated with COVID-19. There were also 1,345 new positive COVID tests reported, much lower than the 2,780 new cases reported the day prior. The number of cases and deaths likely reflect reporting delays over the holiday weekend, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Monday's numbers brought the county's cumulative totals to 2,784,276 cases and 30,376 fatalities since the pandemic began.

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The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 1.8% as of Monday, down from 1.9% Sunday, 2% Saturday, 2.2% Friday and 3% last Monday.

The ongoing dip in hospitalizations prompted the county last week to drop its mask-wearing requirement for outdoor mega-events and in outdoor spaces at schools and child-care centers. The county's indoor masking mandate remains in effect, even though the state lifted its indoor mask-wearing rule.

The county rule will remain in place until its transmission rate -- as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- falls to the "moderate" level and stays there for two weeks. That requires the county to reach a rate of infection rate of 50 per 100,000 residents. As of Friday, the county's rate was 300 per 100,000.

That rate has been steadily dropping, and Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that at the current pace, the county will reach the "moderate" rate by March 16, meaning the indoor mask mandate would lift by March 30.

According to figures released last week, 82% of eligible residents aged 5 and over have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, while 74% are fully vaccinated, and 36% are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.

Of the county's overall 10.3 million population, 78% have had at least one dose, 70% are fully vaccinated and 34% have received a booster shot.

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