“Cases May Have Begun To Level Off,” Says Top Los Angeles Health Official; Covid Numbers Rising More Slowly

Los Angeles reported the second-highest number of new Covid cases — 3672 — since February 2 of this year, but public health officials expressed optimism on Thursday that the county may be seeing a plateau. The 7-day test positivity rate — seen as an important measure of infection spread — actually fell considerably in the past week, dropping from 5.4 last week to 4.73%. The other key metric for infection spread, the 7 day average of cases per 100,000 people, fell about 12% to 21 cases per 100,000 on Thursday from 24 per 100,000 last week.

L.A. County health director said she suspects the decrease may be due in part to the indoor mask mandate the county implemented just over two weeks ago.

“We’re not seeing the exponential growth in cases we saw earlier. We look different in terms of the rate of increase compared to other counties. We were the only county at the end of July that’d that mandate,” said Ferrer before noting that L.A.’s 22% daily cases increase over the past week is actually much lower than the 57% increase in new cases statewide over the same period. “Which is what we’re hoping for after implementing an effective public health measure,” she said.

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Ferrer, however, cautioned that total daily cases in the county will likely continue to go up in the near term. That’s because schools are starting back up and more companies are requiring proof of vaccination or frequent negative tests, so the number of tests being processed is rising rapidly. As test numbers rise, more cases will likely be discovered, she said.

“We’re going to see more cases. In the past two weeks, we’ve gone from about 40,000-45,000 tests a day to 60,000-65,000 cases.” The good news is, said Ferrer, at the same time “our test positivity has come down.”

L.A. County Covid data for August 5, 2021
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