The expirations have prompted some questions. Can you still get free tests? What about vaccines? For now, the answer is yes and yes. The U.S. Postal Service will ship four free tests to your home through the website COVIDtests.gov. Shots remain available at no cost and are easy to access; in addition to pharmacies and supermarkets, the county has a roster of vaccination locations at regional libraries and parks.
Masks are no longer required in public settings, or on planes and buses. Many of those who contract the coronavirus report just mild symptoms.
All that said, COVID-19 is still here, and the sheer size of Los Angeles County, with some 10 million inhabitants, means people continue to fall ill, and some suffer serious complications. Although health leaders have long urged people to get the extra protection afforded by the bivalent vaccine—which is also believed to protect against the new Arcturus strain, which has been detected in Los Angeles County—only 18.4% of those 5 and up have taken the jab.
It is difficult to get a complete picture of the spread of the virus, given that many people who test positive but have minor symptoms never report their infection to health authorities. Still, looking at week-over-week counts compiled by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provides an indication of where things are going.
Reported cases continue to be low. According to the department, in the seven-day period ending Wednesday, April 26, there were 2,659 diagnosed infections in the county. The week before there were 3,114. In the week ending March 21, the figure was 4,307.
The situation is similar with hospitalizations. The seven-day average as of Wednesday was 275. That is down from 328 the week before. The figure was over 400 last month.
At the worst point of the pandemic, during the surge in January 2021, more than 8,000 COVID patients were in area hospitals.
COVID-19 fatalities have fluctuated within a narrow range for the past month. In the most recent week, according to health authorities, there were 54 deaths. The tally was 44 the previous week. In the week that ended March 21, 86 people in the county died from COVID-19 complications.
Since the start of the pandemic, the county has tabulated 36,199 COVID-19 fatalities.
As mentioned above, vaccines continue to be free and readily available, and more than 21.5 million shots have been administered in the county. An estimated 81% of area residents have received at least one dose.
How we did it: We analyzed coronavirus data related to new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.