L.A. County’s daily count of new coronavirus cases continues to decline

Los Angeles County public health officials on Saturday reported 3,221 new cases of the coronavirus and 85 related deaths, as infections continued to decline following a surge fueled by the Omicron variant.

The county is now averaging 3,811 new cases a day over the last week, according to The Times’ coronavirus tracker, a drop of nearly 74% from two weeks before.

There were 1,502 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals as of Friday, a decline of about 50% from two weeks before, when there were 3,012 patients.

The share of tests returning a positive result also has fallen, to a seven-day average of 2.1%, officials said.

Hospitalizations have declined to the point that officials this week relaxed the county’s outdoor mask rules, allowing people to go without face coverings outdoors at K-12 schools and childcare facilities, as well as in exterior areas of outdoor “mega events” at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, SoFi Stadium and Memorial Coliseum.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county’s indoor mask mandate will probably be lifted by the end of next month, though that timetable could be shorter should the federal guidance on face coverings change.

L.A. County is one of a handful of counties that have retained a local universal indoor mask order after California lifted its statewide mandate Wednesday. Others include Palm Springs, Santa Clara and Mendocino counties.

Ferrer’s projection came the same week that the county marked its 30,000th COVID-19 death, a sum greater than the entire population of cities such as Maywood, San Fernando or South Pasadena.

“We have not lost this many people to a single disease over such a short time span in recent history,” she said.

“Our hope is that as we enter this post-surge period, we can continue to take care of each other and minimize the loss of life that has devastated so many families,” she said.

Times staff writers Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money contributed to this report.

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