Delta variant continues to drive rise in COVID-19 cases

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to cause sharp increases in the number of new cases and people hospitalized in Los Angeles County.

The county’s latest COVID-19 numbers Aug. 2 show five more deaths and 2,361 new cases, while the number of people hospitalized with the virus has nearly quadrupled since this time last month.

The new infections brought the county’s total from the pandemic to 1,305,704. The additional deaths raised the county’s death toll to 24,690.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County is 1,096, compared with 280 people who were hospitalized on July 2, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

State figures for hospitalizations in the county are reported slightly differently and show 1,273 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, which was reported at 354 people on July 2.

State reports show there are 264 people in Los Angeles County intensive care units.

The county has been experiencing sharp increases in daily case numbers, hospitalizations and test-positivity rates for several weeks. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 6.2% as of Monday, down from the 6.3% rate reported Friday. By comparison, that percentage was 1.3% on July 2.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, 99.8% of the people who have died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

While the pace of vaccinations had slowed significantly, Ferrer said the county has now seen two consecutive weeks of small increases in the number of people receiving a first dose. Between July 19 and 25, about 70,000 doses were administered in the county, up about 7,500 from the previous week.

Of the county’s 10.3 million residents, 60% have received at least one dose, and 52% are fully vaccinated. Roughly 1.3 million residents under age 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine.

There are 772 county sites offering vaccinations this week, including pharmacies, clinics, community sites and hospitals and 312 sites where mobile teams are offering vaccinations, which are concentrated in higher-need, harder hit areas.

Vaccinations are widely available throughout L.A. County and are free of charge to anyone, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status,” Ferrer said.

Many sites are open on weekends and have evening hours and government IDs and/or insurance are not needed. Because of the high rate of community transmission in L.A. County and across the nation, increasing vaccination rates is critically important to curtailing the Delta variant. It is never too late to get vaccinated and get protected.”

Statewide cases also are increasing, largely among unvaccinated populations, health officials said. The vast majority of new cases in California are among the unvaccinated, with 600% higher case rates among the unvaccinated than for those who are vaccinated.