LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County health officials reported more than 5,400 new COVID-19 infections from a three-day period ending today, along with 15 new virus-related deaths.
The county Department of Public Health reported 1,640 new cases for Saturday, 2,175 for Sunday and 1,599 for Monday.
The 5,414 new cases lifted the county's cumulative number from throughout the pandemic to 3,535,493.
Overall official case numbers are believed to be artificially low, due to residents who use at-home tests and do not report the results to the county, and others who do not get tested at all.
The 15 new COVID-related deaths reported Monday from the three-day period gave the county an overall death toll of 34,171.
Updated virus-related hospitalization numbers were not immediately available from the state. The most recent figure from Thursday showed 822 COVID- positive patients in county hospitals, with 96 of those patients being treated in intensive care units.
Health officials have said previously that roughly 40% of virus patients were actually admitted to hospitals for COVID-related issues, while the rest were admitted for other reasons but tested positive at the hospital.
The seven-day daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 13% as of Monday, up from 12% on Friday and more than double the rate from the previous week.
The county has been seeing steadily rising case and hospitalization numbers since the beginning of November, prompting health officials to again "strongly recommend" that people wear masks at indoor public settings.
Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at locations where they are required by the operator.
Health officials have been warning about a possible surge not only of COVID-19 during the winter months, but also of flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Authorities have repeatedly urged residents to ensure they are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and to get a flu shot.
A fully vaccinated person can still contract and transmit COVID, but health officials say the vaccines offer protection against developing severe symptoms that can result in hospitalization and even death.