Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — COVID-19 hospitalizations continued declining, according to the latest data in Los Angeles County, while health officials again reported generally high compliance with safety restrictions at businesses, despite some lapses in enforcement of mask-wearing requirements.
According to state figures, there were 1,034 COVID-positive patients hospitalized in the county as of Sept. 20, a drop from 1,053 from the previous day. There were 315 people being treated in intensive care, up from 310 a day earlier.
The county also reported six more COVID-19 deaths, raising the overall death toll from the virus to 25,838.
Another 996 new cases were also reported, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 1,445,121.
The numbers of new deaths and infections tend to be artificially low on Mondays due to delays in reporting by labs over the weekend. The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 1.2%.
County health officials have said repeatedly that businesses have been in good compliance with virus-control orders. The Department of Public Health reported that inspectors visited roughly 1,500 businesses during the week of Sept. 4-10, and found that “the majority of businesses were in compliance.”
The agency again noted, however, that “there continues to be room for improvement with employee and customer masking at fitness centers, garment manufacturing plants and retail stores.”
“I thank our L.A. County businesses that continue to do their part and follow the safety guidelines that prevent COVID-19 spread as we are still experiencing a lot of COVID-19 transmission in L.A. County,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “We applaud the many businesses and establishments that have implemented vaccination verification requirements in order to protect employees and customers.
“These are challenging times and the future trajectory of the pandemic is not certain. Nonetheless, we do know that the vaccines save lives and reduce transmission; these are essential prerequisites to moving forward with our recovery,” she added.
According to numbers released Sept. 17, 76% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 67% are fully vaccinated. Of the county’s overall 10.3 million populace, including those 12 and under who are ineligible for shots, 65% have received at least one dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated.
In hopes of boosting vaccination rates, the county will begin enforcing vaccine requirements next month at large event venues and in high-risk settings such as indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries.
A new county health officer order will require proof of vaccination for all customers and employees at indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs, wineries and distilleries. All patrons and employees will need at least one dose of vaccine by Oct. 7, and a second dose by Nov. 4. The order will recommend, but not require, vaccinations for people at indoor restaurants.
The new order will also require all attendees and employees at outdoor mega-events with 10,000 people or more to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. That requirement, which will take effect Oct. 7, will affect all major outdoor sporting events, and will also impact large theme parks, such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Attendees at indoor mega-events of 1,000 people or more are already required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.