Los Angeles County has reported 15 more COVID-19-related deaths, along with 2,228 new cases.
The new fatalities lifted the county’s virus-related death toll from throughout the pandemic to 33,348, while the overall number of infections rose to 3,425,863.
Health officials have noted that official case numbers are likely low due to the number of people who rely on at-home tests but do not report the results to the county.
According to state figures, there were 765 COVID-infected patients in LA County hospitals as of Friday, down from 780 a day earlier. Of those patients, 106 were being treated in intensive care, up from 101 on Thursday.
County officials have said about 43% of patients with COVID were actually hospitalized due to virus-related illness, while the rest were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested upon admission.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 6.3% as of Friday, down from 7.6% on Thursday.
The county this week began offering the recently approved COVID vaccine booster shot that targets the Omicron variants of the virus. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer compared the amended vaccination to the annual flu shot, which is adjusted annually based on circulating influenza strains.
“The same concept was used in updating the COVID booster to create this bivalent booster,” Ferrer said Thursday. “Viral data from around the world was used to inform updates of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. At this point the pandemic, there is extensive safety and effectiveness data on the mRNA vaccines and their effectiveness against COVID-19.”
The newly approved booster shots became available at vaccination sites around LA County on Wednesday, directly targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant. BA.5 is believed to be responsible for the vast majority of infections occurring in the county and nationally.
The newly approved Pfizer/BioNTech booster is for those age 12 and over, while the Moderna bivalent booster is for those age 18 and older. Details on where the vaccines are available can be found at vaccinatelacounty.com, or in Spanish, vacunatelosangeles.com.