Tuesday, August 3

L.A. County sees slight rise in coronavirus cases, delta variant concerns public health officials – San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angeles County is recording small increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and public health officials said that nearly half of the county’s coronavirus variants sequenced for the week ending on June 12 were the highly infectious delta variant.

The Southern California county, which until recently had seen a “period of persistent declines in many metrics,” is also now beginning to see slight increases in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and daily test positivity, county public health officials said Thursday.

Public health officials said these increases indicate that the coronavirus is still in the community, urging residents who are not vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings and socially distance from people outside of their households.

Transmission rates are “relatively low” in the county, but public officials said there are still pockets of unvaccinated residents, which allow for coronavirus variants to spread in the community. People who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus “appear to be well protected” from infections from the delta variants, officials said, and those with only one dose of the two-shot vaccines are not as protected, public health officials said.

The delta variant — which is sharply rising in California — is highly transmissible compared with other variants, making it a cause for concern for public health officials in the county, officials said.

Delta variants made up nearly 48% of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County in the week ending on June 12, public health officials said.

Of the 123 delta variants recorded between April 21 and June 12, public health officials said 49 cases were “geographically clustered” and from residents living in Palmdale and Lancaster. Fourteen of these cases were associated with one household, public health officials said.

“About half of the people with a delta variant lived in a household with at least one other delta variant case,” county public health officials said Thursday.

Sixty-seven percent of Los Angeles County residents age 16 and older have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 58% of them have been fully vaccinated, public health officials said.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer urged residents who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised to exercise caution during the Fourth of July holiday by staying socially distanced from others while indoors, and to wear face coverings while indoors or while gathering in crowded conditions with other unvaccinated residents outdoors.

Officials said that nearly all of the 12,234 people who died in Los Angeles County from COVID-19 from Dec. 7, 2020, through June 7 — 99.8% — were unvaccinated.

Lauren Hernández is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: lauren.hernandez@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ByLHernandez

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