In what may be the first sign of the beginning of the end of the Omicron surge in Los Angeles, the 7-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus has fallen dramatically in the past week. Test positivity is considered a better measure of the rate of spread than raw case counts because it is a percentage that is averaged over a week’s time.
Test positivity has fallen nearly 20% over the past week in L.A. County, reaching 16.5% on Monday. That was down from 20.2% last Tuesday. The rate hit a recent high of 26.5% on January 1. Health officials noted, however, that even at 16.5%, the rate is still eight times higher than the 2% test-positivity rate one month ago.
The county Department of Public Health confirmed another 31,576 new daily infections on Monday, a number that is likely low due to delays in weekend reporting. The daily count, which went over 45,000 on Thursday and has generally remained above 40,000 this week, has yet to show significant declines.
Health officials have been raising concerns about the current surge in cases impacting a hospital system already strained by staffing shortages, which have been further exacerbated by Covid infections among health care professionals.
The number of Covid-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals inched upward again today to 4,564. That number has jumped an additional 800 daily cases in the past week, reaching a level nearly six times above what it was just one month ago.
According to California’s CatCAT ensemble forecasting model, the county is set eclipse its all-time Covid hospitalizations record of 7,926 this week. The hospitalizations surge is expected to continue until it hits a new record of 13,507 on February 2.
Another 27 virus-related deaths were also reported Monday, a number county health officials indicate was incomplete due to the aforementioned reporting delays. Prior to the weekend, the number of deaths had risen fourfold, from 15 on Tuesday to 65 Friday. Just as increases in hospitalizations lag increases in case counts by about 2-3 weeks, deaths generally lag changes in hospitalizations by another 2 weeks.
The number of those patients in intensive care was 621, a slight reduction from 622 a day earlier.
City News Service contributed to this report.