L.A. County is in a much better place than last Independence Day yet Public Health Department recommends caution and masks in public places.
Last Independence Day, July 4, 2020, Los Angeles County was in a completely different place with an average of 2,000 new daily cases and 1,900 people hospitalized with COVID-19 illness. Two weeks after the fourth of July celebrations, cases increased nearly 40% and hospitalizations rose nearly 20%. The spike in infections, was attributed to gatherings and travel over the long holiday weekend.
As of July 3, 2021, L.A. County Department of Public Health declared significantly lower rates of transmission; the end of June saw an average of 500 new daily cases and fewer than 300 COVID-related daily hospitalizations. Thanks to three very effective vaccines and over 5 million fully vaccinated residents (nearly 60%), customary celebrations and gatherings are able to occur throughout the county as we celebrate the countryâ€™s Independence Day.
While the tools we have to prevent transmission, the rise in COVID-19 variants, and in particular, the Delta variant, are fueling a rapid increase in new cases, primarily among those not yet vaccinated. The Delta variant is especially concerning because it appears to be more contagious and may cause more severe infections than other COVID variants. With 4 million unvaccinated residents in L.A. County and a tripling of cases, there is enough risk for the Delta variant to pose a significant threat.
Emerging data affirms that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections but with Delta variants, people with only one vaccine are not as well protected, and there is increasing evidence that a very small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and may be able to infect others.
Continuing to wear face coverings when indoors with persons who are not vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown adds a prudent layer of additional protection against the virus; masking up now can help prevent a resurgence in transmission. If you are not vaccinated and around people outside your household, a face mask offers strong protection against the virus. If you or any friends or family are at gatherings and are unvaccinated or immunocompromised, stay outside as much as possible, and always wear masks when indoors except when eating and drinking.
As of July 4, Public Health is reporting 7 new deaths and 644 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 7 new deaths reported, one person that passed away was over the age of 80, three people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, two people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 and one person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49.
To date, Public Health identified 1,251,848 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,498 deaths. There are 275 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 26% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for over 7,053,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. The daily test positivity rate is currently 1.3%.
â€śWe are grateful to everyone for the tremendous progress we have made over the past year, but we are not out of the woods just yet,â€ť said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. â€śPlease continue to take sensible precautions to avoid transmission of the virus, particularly if you are gathering with individuals and children not yet vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated, consider getting your vaccination now to increase your protection as other public health precautions have been lifted; talk to a friend or loved one who has been vaccinated and ask them about their experience. Vaccines provide us with the best tool for ending this pandemic that has plagued us for so many months.
For more information: VaccinateLACounty.com(English); VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to find a vaccination site near you, to make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more. If you donâ€™t have internet access, canâ€™t use a computer, or youâ€™re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. LA County residents can also call 2-1-1. (publichealth.lacounty.gov)