The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County fell to the lowest point in nearly four months on Saturday, public health officials announced.
There were 979 people hospitalized with the virus throughout the county Saturday, bringing the total number of daily hospitalizations under 1,000 for the first time since Nov. 23, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.
Of the 979 people hospitalized, 29% of them were in the intensive care unit.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, but is still high, the department cautioned.
“We have made good progress and have more progress to make,” county public health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “We urge everyone to use caution and good judgment in these next critical weeks and months to avoid surges in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths like we saw at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Don’t let your guard down.”
There were 42 new deaths reported on Saturday, bringing the total to 22,446 people who have died from the virus in L.A. County. And, there were 793 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the total number of positive cases to 1,209,632 countywide.
The milestone in hospitalizations comes as L.A. County prepares to enter the red tier of the state’s reopening blueprint Monday, after weeks of falling coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations following a surge that overwhelmed hospitals and morgues. The change in tiers was also contingent on the state giving out a target 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to residents in areas disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The county’s transition from the most restrictive purple tier to the second-most restrictive red tier means restaurants, gyms, museums and zoos can reopen for indoor operations at limited capacity after months of closures and restrictions.