COVID-19 transmission rate still a concern

Registered Nurse Trish Thuy Mai of Carbon Health prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at an all-day, pop-up vaccination site organized by Assembywoman Suzette Valladares which was held at American Family Funding in Valencia on Saturday, 0711721. Dan Watson/The Signal

COVID-19 transmission is now at the high level in Los Angeles County — though the rate of increase of new cases has slowed compared to last week, according to county Public Health Department data reported Thursday. 

The county experienced a 17% increase in cases this week compared to last week. That number was 80% between last week and the week before it. 

“This suggests to us that perhaps the rate of increase may be stabilizing,” said Barbara Ferrer, the department’s director, noting hospitalizations slightly lag behind cases.  

Unvaccinated people make up much of the increasing case rate. 

“While cases are rising among vaccinated people, this increase is smaller and slower than among unvaccinated people,” Ferrer said. “Our county’s case rate would likely be much higher if we didn’t have so many vaccinated people.” 

She reported an increase of 273 hospitalizations compared to last week, bringing the total number to 918. Of the 3,167 people hospitalized between May 1 and July 17, 92% were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. 

“The data we have so far suggests that most of the increases seen recently in hospitalizations are due to people being hospitalized for COVID illness and that a significant proportion of them once again are requiring ICU care,” Ferrer said. 

Ferrer said the vaccine remains the most powerful tool for lowering transmission, as more evidence shows that the Delta variant is contributing to the high rate of infection. 

“While emerging data affirms that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with Delta variants, people with only one vaccine are not as well protected and a small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and are able to infect others,” she said. 

Masking, which is now recommended by the state and CDC for indoor public places, and testing and contract tracing are also being used to lower transmission. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 3,248 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,293,450 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 17 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 24,675 

Hospitalizations countywide: 918. 

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of July 28: 21, with 1,294 discharged since the onset of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 104, 75 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 29,688 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of July 28: 308 

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of July 23: 71.6% 

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of July 23: 68.0% 

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