Local COVID-19 daily case numbers and the testing-positivity rate are trending downward, indicating Los Angeles County appears to have “passed the peak” of the omicron variant surge, but virus transmission remains at one of the highest points of the pandemic, the public health director said today.

“Over the past two weeks, fortunately, we’ve seen a downward trend incases and the test-positivity rate,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors.

In Long Beach, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus has edged down to 26.7%, down from nearly 30% a week ago. And the seven-day case rate per 100,000 people has declined to 330, down from 426 a week ago.

Ferrer said the county’s seven-day average rate of new cases in the county was about 310 per 100,000 residents as of Monday, down from 380 per 100,000 residents a week ago. The testing-positivity rate has fallen from about 17% a week ago to roughly 14% this week.

“This downward trend is encouraging, and it signals that we’re likely to have passed the peak of omicron transmission and are beginning to see a real decline in newly infected individuals,” Ferrer said. “However … the case numbers are still extraordinarily high.”

She said the county is still averaging about 32,000 new cases per day, and roughly one of every seven people who gets tested for the virus turns up positive.

“Unfortunately, because hospitalizations and deaths leg cases, there continue to be a significant number of people in L.A. County with severe illness,” she said. “… Sadly, given the high number of hospitalizations, deaths increased this past week, with an average of 61 individuals dying each day.”

The county reported 36 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, raising the overall death toll from the virus to 28,540. The county also reported another 18,822 new cases, raising the cumulative pandemic total to 2,540,075.   The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 13.8% as of Tuesday.

According to state figures, there were 4,554 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Tuesday, down from 4,573 on Monday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 785, a slight drop from 794 a day earlier.