The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has dipped below 1,600 for the first time in nearly a month, officials said Saturday.

The decline — to 1,593 hospitalizations — was greeted as “welcomed news” by county health officials, who consider hospitalizations a key indicator of how infection rates are trending overall.

However, transmission of the coronavirus remains high locally, and officials urged precaution through the normally busy Labor Day weekend, they said.

We “all need to take steps to celebrate the Labor Day holiday weekend safely, especially if you are unvaccinated,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Ferrer said people should consider the risks of COVID-19 when making plans, and wear masks indoors and in crowded places. People who are unvaccinated should avoid all travel, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ferrer said.

The 1,593 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county on Saturday marked the first time that fewer than 1,600 people were hospitalized since Aug. 11, the health department said.

The department said the decline in hospitalizations could reflect a decline in overall cases, as well as “the likelihood that cases among fully vaccinated individuals are not as likely as cases among unvaccinated individuals to require hospitalization.”

Vaccinated people are also far less likely to suffer the worst symptoms of COVID-19, and deaths among vaccinated people are rare. Unvaccinated people are much more likely to fall seriously ill.

Still, fully vaccinated people can become infected — particularly with the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is the dominant strain in the area — and can spread it to others, so they should exercise caution as well, Ferrer said.

In addition to hospitalizations, the health department reported 36 new deaths on Saturday and 2,097 new cases of the coronavirus.

Ferrer said vaccination clinics will remain open all weekend, and urged people who are still unvaccinated to “take advantage of uncrowded clinics and get yourself protected before the fall holidays roll around.”





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