The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Thursday that COVID-19 has claimed 25,002 lives in Los Angeles since the start of the pandemic.
Between July 11 and Aug. 11, COVID-19 related deaths rose by 275% for an average of 15 deaths per day, while hospitalizations rose by 333% during that same time.
“These increases do remind us that the virus continues to cause debilitating and dangerous illness among many who are infected, and the losses we suffer now are particularly sad because almost all of them are preventable with an extremely safe and widely available vaccine,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Public Health Department.
On Thursday, Ferrer reported that the COVID-19 new case rate ranges from 3,000 to 3,500 cases per day between July 11 and Aug. 11, which represents a 150% increase and “slight downturn in the seven-day average case numbers.”
“With this increased routine screening testing over the weeks ahead, we expect that these case numbers will remain high,” she said, noting testing at schools, college and universities, health care facilities and businesses.
In the Santa Clarita Valley, new cases increased by an estimated 10% between July 11 and Aug. 11, according to calculations of public health data by The Signal.
Unvaccinated people make up most of the increases in cases, hospitalizations and death, Ferrer said.
“Unvaccinated people in all age groups are three to four times more likely to become infected than their vaccinated counterparts,” she said.
Among children below the age of 18, she said “hospitalizations are virtually nonexistent” and one in every 100,000 unvaccinated children has been hospitalized.
In the population of Los Angeles County residents who are fully vaccinated, 0.53% have become infected with COVID and 0.014% have been hospitalized. A total of 68 people – representing 0.0013% of all fully vaccinated L.A. residents – died due to COVID-19.
“Vaccines do not provide 100% protection, and that with these high rates of community transmission more fully vaccinated people are getting post-vaccination infections,” Ferrer said. “However, this very same information also makes it clear how much protection vaccinated people still have.”
On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health announced that people attending indoor events with 1,000 or more people will be required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test beginning Sept. 20.
Third doses and booster doses
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, both mRNA vaccines, for immunocompromised people.
“This included transplant recipients, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, people actively receiving cancer treatment, and people taking immunosuppressive medications,” Ferrer said. “Third doses have been available to eligible individuals at vaccination sites across the county since Saturday.”
Booster doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be offered to all vaccinated people eight months after their last dose.
“We are continuing to work with our staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities to prioritize those most vulnerable residents for their booster doses, so that we’re prepared to administer these as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives their approval,” she said.
Ferrer noted the difference between third and booster doses during Thursday’s press conference.
“Third doses are meant to elicit an antibody response where there has been an inadequate antibody response before, while booster doses are meant to increase antibody levels that have waned, after a robust increase in the months after vaccination.”
Ferrer said the FDA and CDC are expected to approve booster doses in September.
Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday:
Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 3,239
Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,362,848
New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 35
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 25,002
Hospitalizations countywide: 1,790, of which 23% are in the ICU
Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Aug. 18: 30, with 1,383 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 176, 135 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita
Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 32,236
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Aug. 17: 311
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of Aug. 15: 73.3%*
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of Aug. 15: 69.9%*
*Percentages now include vaccination rates for people between the ages of 12 and 15