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Residents Urged to get Vaccinated and Boosted as they Continue to Provide Protection Against More Infectious Subvariants and Sub-Lineages

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With the highly infectious BA.2 subvariant and sub-lineages driving this increase in COVID-19 cases in LA County, Public Health officials say getting vaccinated and boosted is an important strategy to prevent serious illness and keep May gatherings safe.

For the week ending in April 16, Omicron accounted for 100% of genetically sequenced cases, with BA.2 lineage and sub-lineages accounting for 96% of that total. While BA.2 is among the most infectious mutations of COVID-19 yet, the CDC estimates that the new sub-lineage BA.2.12.1 may be 25% more transmissible than BA.2. In Los Angeles County, for the week ending April 16, 8% of positive sequenced specimens were identified as BA.2.12.1.

With these highly infectious subvariants and sub-lineages in circulation, cases are increasing in LA County. The average number of daily new cases reported over the last seven days increased to 2,532 compared to the 905 reported one month ago, an increase of 180%.

To date, the increases in case numbers have not translated to increases in severe illness, with hospitalizations and deaths remaining low and decreasing. Over the last seven days, the average number of hospitalized cases per day was 245, similar to hospitalization numbers one month ago. Deaths decreased to an average of four daily deaths a day this past week, a 72% decrease from one month ago when the average number of daily reported deaths over the previous seven days was 14.

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As community members make plans for graduations, proms and the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, now is the time to get vaccinated or boosted for those who are eligible but have yet to do so. Sensible precautions, such as holding events outdoors, masking while indoors, and testing before and after events are also strongly recommended by Public Health.


Public Health Confirms COVID Disproportionately Impacted Black, Brown Residents in All Four Surges; Remains Committed to Working Toward Equitable Health Outcomes

With high transmission and increased cases, LA County must do everything it can to protect those experiencing higher case, hospitalization, and death rates, including workers who have multiple exposures to others during their workday, people living in communities with high concentrations of poverty, and Black and Latinx residents.

Amongst Black and Brown residents case rates were typically two to four times higher, hospitalizations were three to four times higher, and deaths were two to three times higher. Meanwhile, fully vaccinated residents in the wealthiest communities were more than two times less likely to be hospitalized than those vaccinated and living in communities with high rates of poverty. Additionally, those unvaccinated living in high poverty communities are almost 12 times more likely to die than unvaccinated living in wealthier communities. And among those vaccinated, those living in communities of high poverty are two times more likely to die than those in the wealthiest communities.

LA County has a collective obligation to Public Health’s post-surge plan, and expansive mitigation strategies allow us to consider taking public health measures that protect our most vulnerable residents - including those who are of older age; have underlying health conditions; live in communities with high poverty rates; are Black and Brown; are unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated; and face many exposures at work and in the community.

Appropriate strategies include continuing to ensure barrier-free access to testing, vaccinations, therapeutics, and PPE, and connecting residents and workers with services that address food, income and housing insecurity.

Resources are needed to support the network of trusted community-based and faith-based organizations in hard-hit communities that are the backbone of our public health response, including the promotoras and community health workers.

Our worksites also need to be as safe as possible by ensuring adequate ventilation, implementing infection control standards, offering paid leave for those seeking health care, and complying with Public Health safety measures.


Tools to Prevent the Worst Outcomes of COVID-19 Remain Free, Easily Accessible Across LA County

Public Health wants to remind residents that tools to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19 remain free and easily accessible across LA County. This includes practicing sensible COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing a mask when recommended, getting tested if you experience symptoms, or staying home when sick; staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters; and checking with your provider to see if you’re a good candidate for COVID-19 therapeutics if you test positive.

Residents ages 50+, ages 12+ who are immunocompromised, and those who previously received two doses of the Janssen vaccine are eligible for second boosters four months after their first booster. Visit http://VaccinateLACounty.com to find a provider near you.

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Furthermore, individuals who test positive should consult with their provider to see if they would be a good candidate for COVID-19 therapeutics. Residents can find current “Test to Treat” locations in LA County at: ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines. Individuals can contact the Telehealth Call Center seven days a week from 8:00 am - 8:30 pm at 833-540-0473. Tele-health staff will answer questions and connect patients to services as needed. 

 


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: 


It is recommended you follow @lapublichealth on FacebookTwitter or Instagram the latest updates about Los Angeles County.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus: