COVID-19 case rates have dropped and hospitalization rates have plateaued in L.A. County, according to L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Ferrer said Public Health believes hospitalizations and other metrics have peaked and they anticipate these categories to hopefully drop in the coming weeks. At the time of this publication, L.A. County has an average of 4,900 cases per day, which is significantly lower than a week ago when it was at 5,900 cases per day.
“The California Department of Public Health reports that, overall, hospitalizations have peaked across the state, including in Southern California,” said Ferrer. “Their modeling predicts further declines in hospital admissions, along with some plateau and fluctuation in the month of August. We’re hopeful that this will be reflected in our own hospital admission data, where the current plateau is followed by a decline.”
The announcement comes just one week after L.A. County came very close to having an indoor mask mandate return. L.A. County had moved into the Centers for Disease Control “high” tier for hospitalization rates for nearly two weeks in a row, but dipped below at the last second to move the county back into the “medium” tier, which is where it is now.
In addition to announcing the drop in cases and hospitalizations, Ferrer also gave some updates regarding vaccines, including increased access to Novavax — which has served as an alternative to mRNA-based vaccines.
Ferrer said in anticipation of fall and winter, the Food and Drug Administration has requested vaccine manufacturers to add an Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 “spike protein element” to mRNA boosters.
“BA.4 AND BA.5 subvarients of Omicron…continue to be our primary concern because both have an ability to evade prior immunity and therefore more easily reinfect people who are infected with other Omicron sub-variants,” said Ferrer.
This change would only apply to boosters and not to the primary series of vaccines, of which have not changed. These altered boosters will become available this fall.