Covid test positivity in LA drops 20% while hospital admissions skyrocket – Deadline

In what may be the first sign of the beginning of the end of the Omicron rise in Los Angeles, the 7-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus has dropped dramatically in the past week. Test positivity is considered to be a better measure of the rate of spread than crude cases because it is a percentage calculated on average over a week.

Test positivity has dropped nearly 20% over the past week in LA County, reaching 16.5% on Monday. That was a drop from 20.2% last Tuesday. The frequency hit a recent high of 26.5% on January 1st. However, health authorities noted that even with 16.5%, the rate is still eight times higher than the test positivity of 2% a month ago.

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The county Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed a further 31,576 new daily infections, a figure likely to be low due to delays in weekend reporting. The daily number, which went above 45,000 on Thursday and has generally stayed above 40,000 this week, has not yet shown significant declines.

Health authorities have raised concerns about the current rise in cases affecting a hospital system already under pressure from staff shortages, which have been further exacerbated by Covid infections among healthcare professionals.

The number of Covid-positive patients at Los Angeles County hospitals rose again today to 4,564. That number has risen by a further 800 daily cases in the past week and reached a level almost six times above what it was just a month ago.

According to California’s CatCAT ensemble prediction model, the county is set to overshadow its record of 7,926 Covid hospital admissions this week. The increase in hospital admissions is expected to continue until it hits a new record of 13,507 on 2 February.

A further 27 virus-related deaths were also reported on Monday, a number of county health officials indicating were incomplete due to the aforementioned reporting delays. Prior to the weekend, the number of deaths had quadrupled, from 15 on Tuesday to 65 on Friday. Just as increases in hospitalizations increase in the number of cases by about 2-3 weeks, deaths generally lag behind changes in hospitalizations by an additional 2 weeks.

The number of patients on intensive care was 621, a slight reduction from 622 a day earlier.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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