The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County’s hospitals has dropped from 604 on Saturday to as much as 600, according to the latest state figures released on Sunday.
Of these patients, 163 were in intensive care, compared to 170 the previous day.
County health officials reported 979 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths related to the virus on Sunday. The number of cases and deaths likely reflects weekend reporting delays, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The latest numbers brought the county’s cumulative total since the pandemic started to 1,511,324 cases and 26,862 deaths.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that daily COVID-19 case numbers and hospital admissions have decreased dramatically compared to last year, but the numbers are still too high and the daily report of virus-related deaths is almost identical to that of des last year stays.
Rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, along with a noted decrease in immunity several months after vaccination, are leading to a call for a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, it is still unclear what is recommended for those who have received the Johnson & Johnson inclusion. Dr. Harvard’s Aditi Nerurkar explains what we know and what we don’t know about the booster plans.
“The similar number of deaths is a reminder of the destructive power of this virus, and the relatively high case numbers and hospital admissions reflect the dominance of the more contagious Delta variant,” Ferrer said during an online media briefing on Friday.
She reiterated that the onset of cooler weather – despite last week’s mini heat wave – is taking its toll in higher infection rates as more people congregate indoors.
“We recognize the risk associated with cooler weather and indoor gatherings, and with possible deterioration in the effectiveness of the vaccine. Vaccination, booster vaccination and masking indoors and in crowded outdoor areas remain critical as we face the real possibility of a winter increase . ” “Said Ferrer.
“Of course, the colder weather across the country and in parts of the world has already led to a significant increase in cases and unfortunately also in hospital admissions. It would be foolish not to heed the arrest warrants associated with these spikes in the first series for everyone ages 5+ and boosters for those with declining protection who put us in a better position to prevent the tragic heartbreak we experienced last winter to have.”
But without a significant increase in the vaccination rate, the district will not achieve its goal of having 80% of the population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated by the end of the year. Ferrer said the current vaccination rate would need to be increased by 60% to meet the target.
“While this is a huge leap in vaccinations, it would be doable if the urgency of this moment motivates people to get vaccinated because we have plenty of supplies,” she said.
As of Tuesday, 81% of district residents aged 12 and over had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine and 73% were fully vaccinated. Of the total 10.3 million inhabitants of the district, 70% have received at least one dose and 63% are fully vaccinated.
Ferrer said the county has seen a sharp increase in the number of unvaccinated people infected and hospitalized in recent weeks, while the pace has remained largely unchanged among vaccinated residents. The figures show that unvaccinated residents are now seven times more likely to be infected with COVID than their vaccinated counterparts and 44 times more likely to be hospitalized. The risk of death is 60 times higher in unvaccinated people, Ferrer said.
Of the more than 5.9 million fully vaccinated people in the county, 72,163 subsequently tested positive, a rate of 1.22%, Ferrer said. A total of 2,424 vaccinated people were hospitalized, which is a rate of 0.041%, and 396 died, which is a rate of 0.007%.
The rolling average daily rate of people who tested positive for the virus remains low at 0.98% on Friday. The county’s cumulative seven-day case rate has risen to 98 cases per 100,000 population, according to estimates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number was two weeks ago in the mid-1970s.
With 98 cases per 100,000 residents, the county is on the verge of being downgraded from the CDC’s “significant” transmission category to the “widespread” category.