By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday reported 4,825 newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and a daily high 91 newly reported deaths, bringing countywide totals to 183,383 cases and 4,516 deaths.

People wearing a mask pass by a store closing soon in Santa Monica  on July 28. (Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP-Getty)

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said the sharp increase in numbers was partly due to the resolution of reporting backlogs from earlier in the week.

Ferrer said more than 13,000 of the county’s total cases were reported in children under the age of 17, and while hospitalizations among children had been relatively low throughout the pandemic, there had been a recent spike, particularly among those ages 12-17.

“It’s a very small number of children overall, but…hospitalizations among children of all ages has been increasing since April,” she said.

Despite the large number of cases and deaths reported Wednesday, health officials said the county’s seven-day average positivity rate was holding steady at about 8.5%, and new hospital admissions appeared to be leveling off — even if that level was higher than ideal.

As of Wednesday, 2,045 confirmed coronavirus patients were hospitalized with 28% being treated in intensive care units and 17% on ventilators. Ferrer said the availability of ICU beds and ventilators has been holding steady since April.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s health services director, also reported that the county’s rate of transmission was 0.92 Wednesday, below the benchmark of 1. She said the lowering of the transmission rate and slowing of new hospital admissions coincided with the tightening of health orders in early July.

“This is good news, but on that we need to treat with caution and maintain those behaviors,” she said.

Both Ghaly and Ferrer encouraged people to continue wearing face coverings, washing their hands, staying home when possible, refraining from gathering with people outside of their household and maintaining distance while in public.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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