LA County hospitalizations for COVID-19 reach lowest levels since before winter surge

Less than 2,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles as of Thursday, Feb. 25, reaching the lowest levels since before the winter surge that began with Thanksgiving gatherings three months ago.

As of Thursday, there were 1,886 people in L.A. County hospitals that tested positive for the coronavirus, based on a state database. Roughly 30% of the patients were in intensive care units.

A similar number of hospitalized patients last occurred Nov. 25, when 1,893 people were recorded hospitalized. In between that period, hospitals expanded their capacities in ways they could have never imagined, facing during the peak in early January more than 8,000 patients with COVID-19.

Earlier this month, hospitals returned to normal diversion rates — the percentage of time they need to divert ambulances — and most hospitals resumed elective procedures.

In recent changes to the health officer order, outdoor sports can resume on Friday, Feb. 26. Indoor retail restrictions remain.

L.A. County public health officials reported Thursday 132 additional deaths from the coronavirus and 2,072 new cases bringing the total number of deaths to 21,102 and total confirmed cases at 1,187,474.

Public health officials also reported Thursday an elevated number of children reporting with MIS-C over the past month. The disease is characterized by inflammation and can occur in children up to 21 years old weeks after they had the coronavirus.

Another 10 children reported cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases of MIS-C to 100 children with 38 occurring over the past month.

“This increase in cases is a distressing delayed result of the surge we experienced in December and January,” Public Health said in a press release. “During the surge, there was a significant increase in children infected with COVID-19. Most children with MIS-C were infected with COVID-19 at some point prior to a MIS-C diagnosis.”

All 100 of the children with MIS-C were treated at L.A. County hospitals and 40% of them in ICUs. Among the cases, 70% were Latino.

The county’s daily update did not include the latest numbers from Pasadena and Long Beach, cities that operate their own health departments. Pasadena reported an additional fatality, raising its death toll to 312; nine new cases increased the total to 10,834. Another three Long Beach residents have died from coronavirus-related causes, bringing the city’s death toll to 829. The city also reported 59 more cases, for a total of 51,092.

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