LOS ANGELES (CNS) — While daily case numbers, hospitalizations and testing-positivity rates have been steadily falling, the number of COVID-related deaths remained elevated Wednesday, with Los Angeles County reporting another 102 fatalities.
The deaths pushed the county's cumulative number of fatalities throughout the pandemic across the 29,000 mark, reaching 29,099.
The county reported another 15,664 COVID infections Wednesday, raising the overall pandemic total to 2,683,644. The rate of people testing positive for the virus was 8.8% as of Wednesday, roughly the same as Tuesday's 8.9% — but well below the 20% rate seen a month ago.
According to state figures, there were 3,515 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, down from 3,710 on Tuesday. The number of patients in intensive care fell below 700, at 699, down from 719 a day earlier.
County health officials on Wednesday also touted continued declines in the numbers of school students and staff testing positive for the virus and the accompanying decline in the positivity rate.
According to the county, for the week of Jan. 24-28, schools conducted more than 486,600 tests, with 21,472 coming back positive, for a positivity rate of 4.4%. Health officials said there were nearly 40,700 positive tests the prior week when the positivity rate was 7%.
The county, however, continues struggling to improve vaccination rates among children. According to figures released last week, only 31% of children ages 5-11 had received at least one dose, and only 21% were fully vaccinated.
"We hope that with full approval of the Moderna vaccine, which follows full approval a few months back of the Pfizer vaccine, residents and workers are reassured about the safety and effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines distributed in the United States," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Our county data continues to demonstrate the protections offered by vaccination and the importance of using vaccines to reduce the spread and limit the ability of virus replication that could result in problematic variants.
"To date, we're closing in on nearly one million children across all LA County who've safely received the vaccine. We urge parents and students to attend one of the 900 school-based vaccination clinics this month if they are not yet vaccinated or need a booster dose."
According to figures released last week, 81% of eligible county residents ages 5 and above have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 72% are fully vaccinated. Only 32% are fully vaccinated with a booster shot. Of the county's overall 10.3 million population, 77% have received one dose, 69% are fully vaccinated, and 31% are vaccinated and boosted.
Of the more than 6.5 million fully vaccinated residents in the county, 580,942 have subsequently gotten infected with COVID, for a rate of 8.9%. That's a notably higher rate than December when it was 2%, an increase Ferrer attributed to the highly transmissible omicron variant. But the number of fully vaccinated residents who have been hospitalized was 6,998 as of this month, for a rate of 0.1%. The number who have died is 886, for a rate of 0.01%.