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COVID-19 Update from The Department of Public Health

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COVID-19 Update 

Los Angeles County is experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. In just the past 4 weeks, cases have increased twenty-fold, from just 124 cases on June 21 to an average of more than 3,000 cases last week.

The test positivity rate has also skyrocketed, from 0.7% a little more than a month ago to 6.2% this week. Sadly, the number of people hospitalized from COVID-19 has also increased, reaching more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 this past weekend. This is a nearly four-fold increase in one month, as there were only 280 people hospitalized with COVID-19 illness on July 2nd. 

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This increase is due to the more infectious Delta variant and the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, you can: 

  • Get vaccinated. It is the best way to protect against COVID-19. 
  • Wear a mask that fits. Your mask is one of the most powerful tools you have to protect yourself and others. 
  • Avoid crowded places. Being in crowds, especially indoors, puts you at a higher risk. 
  • Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer often - especially after being in public spaces where surfaces are touched by many people. Avoid eating and touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, talk to a doctor and get a test, even if you are fully vaccinated. You should stay home and away from others until you get the result of your COVID-19 test or until your provider tells you that you don’t have COVID-19. 

Delta Variant in Los Angeles County 

Like so many other counties across the United States, we are tracking the rise of the Delta variant. Some early studies of the Delta variant suggest that its faster replication, higher viral load, and greater affinity for lower respiratory tract cells compared with earlier COVID strains make it more efficient at spreading from person to person. 

The Delta variant is currently the dominate strain in Los Angeles County, representing 96% of the specimens collected for sequencing between July 18th and 24th. This is consistent with the rise of Delta nationwide, as just two weeks ago, the CDC estimated that Delta strains accounted for 83% of COVID-19 cases. 

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While emerging data shows that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with Delta variants, people with only one vaccine are not as well-protected, and there is increased evidence that a small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and are able to infect others.  More than 90% of those recently hospitalized with COVID were unvaccinated, and 99% of those who have tragically died from COVID since January were unvaccinated.  

You can learn more about variants by downloading our COVID-19 Variants Frequently Asked Questions document.  

 


Masks in Indoor Public Spaces Required in

Los Angeles County  

As a result of the increase in transmission and the rise of the Delta variant, the Health Office Order was modified to require masking for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement covers indoor spaces such as: 

  • offices  
  • retail 
  • restaurants  
  • gyms 
  • theaters 
  • family entertainment centers 
  • meetings 
  • state and local government offices serving the public

Standard exceptions do apply for children under the age of two, for those with certain medical conditions or disabilities that prevent masking, and for those whose job doesn’t permit masking. 

While there is ample proof that the vaccines remain our most powerful tool to reduce spread of the virus, because the Delta variant is so much more infectious than any virus strain we have seen before, we must add additional layers of protection to slow transmission as we work to increase vaccination rates.  

Not only is the delta variant much easier to transmit to others, including those fully vaccinated, but along with this increase in community transmission, comes the threat of new mutations that may be even more dangerous than the Delta variants. 

That is why Public Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control, is asking everyone to wear masks when indoors.  Masks are an important additional layer of protection that will make it harder for there to be transmission among both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. 


COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

There are more than 700 vaccination locations across Los Angeles County. As a reminder:  

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free. 
  • Vaccines are available for everyone age 12 and over. 
  • You will not be asked about your immigration status when you get a vaccine. 
  • You may be eligible for sick leave when you get a vaccine. See details
  • No appointment is needed at many locations. 
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You can learn more about how to get vaccinated and search for vaccination sites by visiting the How to Get Vaccinated page. There, you can search for sites based on type of vaccine, distance from zip code, hours of operation, and more.  


Additional Resources

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has developed a wide array of documents, guidance documents, and resources for the workers, businesses, partners, and the general public on a variety of topics related to COVID-19, including: 

Information for the Public  

Best Practices for Businesses