COVID-19 hospitalization numbers continued an unsettling upward climb in Los Angeles County Monday, with state figures showing more than 800 people now being treated for the virus, more than double the number from just two weeks ago.
According to the state, there were 825 people hospitalized due to COVID in the county, up from 745 the day prior. On July 12, there were only 372 people hospitalized in the county.
There were 182 people in intensive care, up from 161 on Sunday, according to the state.
The numbers, while increasing, are still well below the more than 8,000 people hospitalized during the winter surge.
Los Angeles County also reported another 1,966 COVID cases on Monday, a day on which numbers are traditionally lower due to reporting lags from the weekend. The new cases lifted the cumulative county total from throughout the pandemic to 1,285,771. Another four deaths due to COVID were also reported, raising the county’s death toll to 24,631.
Health officials have repeatedly blamed the recent surge in cases on the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. The variant was first discovered in India and is blamed for rampant infections in that country, along with outbreaks in the United Kingdom. It is now spreading across the United States, contributing to rising case numbers and hospitalizations. The average daily rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the county was 5.2% as of Monday, up from 4.8% reported on Sunday.
County health officials said last week unvaccinated people are five times more likely to be infected by COVID-19 as vaccinated people. On Monday, state officials said the average daily infection rate among unvaccinated people was nearly seven times higher than that of vaccinated people. Although some fully vaccinated people have still been infected with COVID-19, they are highly unlikely to become seriously ill or require hospitalization, health officials said.
“As we continue to experience significant community transmission fueled by the Delta variant, every effort to reduce spread is important,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “This includes the additional layer of masking and testing protections the state health officer order requires at health care and high-risk congregate living facilities. Every worksite in L.A. County also has an opportunity to reduce virus transmission by adhering to the requirement that all employees and customers wear their masks indoors. We need the additional protection while more individuals get vaccinated if we want to get back to low rates of transmission.”
Figures provided by the county Thursday showed that 5.3 million of the county’s roughly 10.3 million residents are fully vaccinated, a rate of roughly 52%. About 1.3 million county residents are ineligible for shots because they are under age 12.
Young Black and Latino residents continue to have the lowest rates of vaccination in the county. Black residents also had the highest rate of new infections over the last month, at 181 per 100,000 residents, according to the county. Latino/a residents have traditionally had one of the highest infection rates throughout the pandemic, but over the past month, white residents accrued a higher rate, at 83 per 100,000 residents. Latinos had an infection rate of 62 per 100,000 residents. Black residents also had the highest rate of hospitalizations over the month, followed by Latinos and whites.
In hopes of encouraging more people to get vaccinated, the county is continuing to offer incentives. Through Thursday, anyone who gets vaccinated at sites operated by the county, the city of Los Angeles or St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will be entered for a chance to win one of seven three- concert ticket packages at AEG venues, for a variety of acts.