L.A. County sees decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations over Labor Day weekend

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A father waits with his son to be tested for the coronavirus at Northridge Middle School in Northridge in this undated photo. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

A father waits with his son to be tested for the coronavirus at Northridge Middle School in Northridge in this undated photo. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals continued to fall Monday, declining from 1,539 Saturday to 1,480, according to the latest county figures.

The latest hospitalization numbers come as vaccination figures in L.A. County have begun to climb again since early July, when the number of new vaccinations hit a low for the summer, according to county data. About two-thirds eligible county residents are fully vaccinated, and about three-quarters have received at least one vaccine dose.

The number of people hospitalized dropped under 1,600 Friday for the first time in nearly a month. Health officials said the decline may reflect the likelihood that cases among fully vaccinated residents are not as likely as those among unvaccinated people to require hospitalization.

Among the nearly 5.3 million fully vaccinated people in the county, less than 1% have become infected with COVID-19 and only 0.02% of those who tested positive were hospitalized, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday.

Monday’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers also came as county health officials reported 11 new deaths associated with the virus and 1,540 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county totals to 1,420,560 cases and 25,456 fatalities since the pandemic began.

County health officials, however, noted that Monday’s case and death numbers likely reflect reporting delays over the weekend.

Meanwhile, officials have also confirmed the presence of a coronavirus variant recently determined to be a “variant of interest” in L.A. County. 

County health officials last week said the mu variant has been detected in 167 people between June 19 and Aug. 21, with most of them found in July.

The mu variant was declared by the World Health Organization as a “variant of interest” on Aug. 30, and was first identified in January in Colombia, county health officials said. Also known as B.1.621, the Mu variant, has since been reported in 39 countries.

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