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L.A. County coronavirus hospitalizations continue to decline

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County public health officials on Saturday reported 2,645 new cases of the coronavirus and 51 related deaths but said hospitalizations continue to decline.

The latest case numbers did not include a pending backlog of lab reports the county is expecting the state to send via its electronic reporting system over the next couple of days, officials said. It’s not clear whether that will change the overall picture of how rapidly the virus continues to spread.

Still, officials said, death and hospitalization statistics were not affected by the reporting glitch, which has rendered new case numbers inaccurate.

On Friday, there were 1,568 confirmed COVID-19 cases in county hospitals; the number topped 2,000 for much of July. The most recent three-day average number of hospitalizations represented a decline of 5.2%, according to the L.A. Times coronavirus tracker.

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L.A. County has now tallied 206,778 cases and 4,967 deaths.

“After a fairly rough July, we are cautiously optimistic about what our numbers are showing in the first week of August, particularly the information on declining daily hospitalizations,” Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said in a statement.

“As we look to the future and continue planning our recovery, the lessons from our recent past serve as a reminder that we need to continue our vigilance in the face of this still new and dangerous virus.”

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Ferrer said this will require many more weeks of putting activities on hold, avoiding parties and crowded situations, wearing face coverings in public and keeping six feet apart from others.

Orange County reported a similar drop in hospitalizations, with a total of 491 confirmed COVID-19 patients and a three-day average that represented a 5.1% decline. The county added 322 cases and 16 deaths Saturday, bringing its total to 39,076 cases and 720 deaths.

California has reported 554,389 cases and 10,307 deaths statewide.

Officials have cautioned that the number of cases, including those reported by individual counties, could be artificially low due to glitches in the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange electronic database.

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Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services director, said Friday that between 250,000 and 300,000 results have not been uploaded to the database. It’s not clear if the lost test results are scattered throughout the state or contained to a small number of counties.

As coronavirus cases surge in California’s rural Central Valley, a self-declared ‘sanctuary city for business’ is defiant, even as the state is threatening to withdraw funding. On both sides of the debate, everyone agrees: It’s political.

The issue has affected L.A. County’s efforts at contact tracing, and officials on Saturday renewed their plea for any resident who has tested positive to call 1-833-540-0473 to speak to a public health specialist.

Times staff writer Taryn Luna contributed to this report.


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