According to state figures, 400 people were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday in Los Angeles County, up from 379 on Friday. The number of these intensive care patients increased from 86 to 87.
Saturday’s figures brought the county totals to 1,235,422 cases and 23,995 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“As transmission is low and we continue to see a decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we are approaching the dreadful milestone of 24,000 deaths from COVID-19 in LA County,” said the director of public health, Barbara Ferrer. “There is always a higher risk of transmission of COVID-19 and serious health problems in unvaccinated people. Please get vaccinated as soon as possible. Protecting yourself and your family by getting vaccinated is the best gift you can give this Mother’s Day. “
Despite Saturday’s increase, the average number of people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19 fell to its lowest point since the start of the pandemic. The five-day average daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county on Friday was 389. Officials have touted vaccinations as the key to keeping hospital beds empty, noting that inoculated residents are highly. protected from infection, but even if they still contract the virus, it is extremely unlikely that they will end up in hospital.
“We see the power of vaccinations in our low metrics and reduced transmission,” Ferrer said Friday.
Ferrer said the number of vaccines administered in the county last week fell about 25% from the previous week. As a result, most vaccination sites, including all those run by the county, offer walk-in vaccines.
The county has reduced the size of its four large-scale vaccination sites, but Ferrer said they would remain open, despite a decision by Orange County officials to close their large sites.
Ferrer said Thursday the county does not want to prematurely shut down large-scale sites without ensuring that the communities they are in will always have easy access to vaccinations. She also noted that the federal government could open up vaccinations to 12 to 15-year-olds as early as next week, which could increase demand for the Pfizer vaccine, which has cold storage requirements the county is equipped to meet.
As of Sunday, 39% of the county’s residents had been fully vaccinated – 67% among residents aged 65 and over and 33% among those aged 16 to 64.
Latino and black residents continue to have the lowest vaccination rates. Ferrer showed statistics on Thursday showing that only 18% of black men between the ages of 16 and 29 had received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, and 20% of black women in that age group. Only 30% of black men and women aged 30 to 49 received at least one dose.
The percentage of black and Latino residents vaccinated has improved significantly since February, with a 593% increase in vaccination rates among Latin American residents aged 16 and over, and a 414% increase in vaccination rate among black residents aged 16 and over.
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Despite the large increases, these populations still have the lowest overall immunization rate, with only 37% of the eligible black population vaccinated and 40% of the Latina / o population.
Ferrer stressed the importance of vaccinations, especially as more people start to meddle in the relaxation of health restrictions this week, in line with the county’s move to the least restrictive yellow level in the Action Plan of the United States. ‘State for a more secure economy.
Los Angeles is the only county in southern California to reach the yellow level. The rest of the region remains in the slightly more restrictive orange level.
Asked why Los Angeles appears to be overtaking neighboring counties in reducing case rates, Ferrer thanked residents and businesses for adhering to the health guidelines. But she also said the winter spike in infections was also a contributing factor to the current low numbers of cases.
“We’ve had a devastating outbreak here with a large number of people who have been infected, and a lot of those people still carry natural immunity,” she said.
“The unfortunate thing about this natural immunity is that it will wane over time. It is really important for people to know that, yes, you have some protection if you were already infected, if you have ever been sick. But this protection decreases quite quickly over time. And that is why we urge all those who have already been infected to come and get vaccinated. But certainly for now, I think it helped us in the spring to reduce our numbers.