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LA County posed to move into "high" levels of COVID-19 transmission

Los Angeles County is posed to move into the category of "high transmission" rates concerning the coronavirus this week.

State officials say there are 1,014 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in LA County hospitals. That number had dropped by seven people a day after jumping past the 1,000 mark, according to the latest state data. 

On Friday, the county Department of Public Health reported 6,416 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths related to the coronavirus -- the highest daily number of virus-related deaths since late March. Those numbers brought the county's cumulative totals to 3,160,032 cases and 32,413 fatalities since the pandemic began.

Health officials have said that a majority of the deaths occurred in people with at least one underlying health condition, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 15.7% as of Friday. The county does not report COVID data on weekends.

Hospital numbers have been steadily rising in recent months, an increase health officials have attributed to renewed rapid spread of the virus attributable to the infectious BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which authorities say are highly contagious and capable of re-infecting previous patients.

The number of those hospitalized with coronavirus in Orange County jumped to 280 and to 210 in Riverside County. 

A move to "high" transmissibility could equate to another universal indoor mask-wearing mandate by the end of the month. The county is currently in the "medium" virus activity level, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will reach the "high" category if the seven-day average of new COVID-related hospital admissions reaches 10 per 100,000 residents.

If the county remains at that high level for two consecutive weeks, it will re-impose a mandatory indoor mask-wearing mandate. Under the current schedule, that would happen on July 29.

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