An additional 549 COVID-19 infections were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday, the largest number since April and the second straight day that the number exceeded 500, prompting further calls to residents to come on Get vaccinated on the 4th weekend in July and exercise caution.
The rolling average rate of people who tested positive for the virus also continued to rise in the district, although the number is still very low at just 1.3%. That’s a 1.2% increase on Thursday, but more than four times the 0.03% rate reported by the county in early June.
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 fell slightly on Friday, with state numbers showing 275 virus patients in the county, up from 280 on Thursday. There were 72 patients in intensive care due to COVID-19, up from 74 on Thursday.
“Whenever we see cases doubling and test positivity quadrupling in a short period of time, we are reminded of how easily the virus can spread,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said in a statement. “The three vaccines we have in the US offer effective protection against serious illness and death from all variants and the widely circulating virus.”
“While getting vaccinated is the most important thing, if you go indoors and don’t know the vaccination status, it makes sense to put on a face covering to maximize protection for everyone. If you are not fully vaccinated you will have to wear your mask in all indoor public places, ”she said.
Los Angeles County reported five more COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing the county’s death toll from the virus to 24,492. The 549 new infections increased the county’s cumulative total since the pandemic began to 1,251,224.
Health officials have been closely monitoring the case numbers and test positivity rates, which have risen steadily since most COVID-19 health restrictions were lifted on June 15. The increases are a highly contagious “delta” variant of the COVID-19 virus, which continues to spread locally and nationally. The variant is believed to be responsible for more than 26% of current COVID-19 infections in the United States.
The variant “Delta” is also held responsible for rampant infections in India and parts of Great Britain.
Ferrer said Thursday that 245 cases of the “Delta” variant had been confirmed in the county, almost twice as many as last week. The county is running limited sequencing tests necessary to identify the variants so the number cannot be extrapolated to population, but “Delta” has become the most dominant variant detected in the county.
Given the increasing prevalence of “Delta” among identified virus variants in the county, Ferrer said it is clear that the variant is “increasingly circulating” in the community.
She reiterated that existing vaccines offer strong protection against the “Delta” variant, but that so-called “breakthrough infections” occur in fully vaccinated people. And these people – although they have a small risk of getting seriously ill – could potentially spread the infection to others, Ferrer said.
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According to the figures published on Thursday, there were 2,190 documented “breakthrough infections” of the approximately 4.5 million fully vaccinated residents of the district, which corresponds to an infection rate of 0.048%. A total of 192 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized at a COVID-19 rate of 0.0042% and 20 have died, a rate of 0.0004%.
Ferrer insisted that the numbers show that vaccines are extremely effective in fighting the virus. However, she said that even with extremely low infection rates, more than 2,000 people were still vaccinated but contracted the virus.
It was not known how many of these breakthrough cases documented in the county affected the “Delta” variant. Ferrer noted that last week when the county identified 123 cases of the “Delta” variant, only 10 of those involved fully vaccinated individuals.
More than 10.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the county. The latest figures show that 59% of residents aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, while 68% received at least one dose.
The numbers are higher for seniors: 76% of people 65 and over are fully vaccinated and 87% with at least one dose.
In the hope of getting more people to vaccinate, the district continues to offer incentives. From Friday through Thursday, anyone who gets vaccinated at locations in the county, city of Los Angeles, or St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will be eligible for one of four ticket packages for the Huntington Library, Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum and South Coast Botanic Garden. The packages include an annual membership for the Huntington’s disease and day passes for the other facilities.
In Orange County, health officials on Friday confirmed another 74 COVID-19 infections on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 256,445. Another fatality was also reported, bringing the death toll in the county to 5,123.
The number of people hospitalized in Orange County with COVID-19 dropped from 70 on Thursday to 63 on Friday, with 12 of those patients in intensive care.
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