More than 4,300 new COVID cases were reported Wednesday in Los Angeles County, where hospital admissions are also on the rise after an encouraging decline earlier this year.

Los Angeles County reported 4,384 new infections in its latest data. There were 363 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals on Wednesday, up from 327 the day before.

55 patients were in intensive care, up from 44 on Tuesday.

The number of COVID hospitals had been falling in recent months. The number fell to 219 on April 20 but has been rising steadily ever since.

These key numbers help establish health safety protocols in LA County. A sharp surge and widespread community transmission could trigger a renewal of mandatory indoor mask-wearing rules.

Here’s what you should know about the numbers and what they mean for LA County’s risk level as determined by the CDC.

When Would LA County’s Mask Mandates Return?

That depends on where LA County falls into the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s risk categories. Los Angeles County could be downgraded to medium from the community risk category on Thursday.

Public Health Director Barbara said Tuesday that the seven-day cumulative median rate of new cases in the county is about 185 per 100,000 people — up from last Thursday’s rate of 176. When that rate reaches 200 per 100,000 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will move the district from the community’s “low” COVID level to “moderate.”

The CDC updates its classifications every Thursday.

The change in category would not necessarily have an immediate impact. The county has already implemented the CDC’s recommendations for “intermediate category” areas, such as masks on public transit, widespread availability of vaccinations, and guidance on improving indoor ventilation.

But if there is another spike in COVID hospitalizations, it could put LA County in the “high” risk category and the likely accompanying indoor mask-wearing rules.

According to CDC guidelines, counties will move to high in the moderate category when the rate of new virus-related hospitalizations reaches 10 per 100,000 population or when 10% of the county’s occupied hospital beds are occupied by COVID-positive patients.

The county’s current rate of new admissions is 3.1 per 100,000 people, and the rate of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive patients is just under 2%.

dr Ferrer told the board that the county is likely to move into the CDC’s moderate COVID risk category this week. She said she is confident the county will avoid slipping into the high category.

“While we are discouraged that the pandemic is not over, I am reassured that with the resources available, we can continue to enjoy our time together and participating in the activities we love,” she said.

The 4,384 new cases reported Wednesday brought the county’s total throughout the pandemic to 2,922,210. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 3.2% on Wednesday from 2.6% on Tuesday, although it was still relatively low.

Ten COVID deaths were also reported, bringing the county’s cumulative virus-related death toll to 32,055. Health officials have found that most people who die from COVID have a variety of underlying health conditions.

Similarly, most hospitalized patients infected with COVID were hospitalized for reasons other than the virus, health officials said. Many only found out they were infected after being tested at hospital admission.

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