LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Thursday reported its highest daily number of new COVID-19 infections since mid-May.
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“Obviously the numbers are really, really low still, really low,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, County Public Health Director, said. “Case rates are low, test positivity is low. You all remember how high those numbers have been for us.
“So I’m not concerned at all about surge,” she continued. “What I want to do is I want to make sure that we address any disproportionality early on by identifying those places where we’re seeing pockets of increase.”
Ferrer said the more concerning data point was that Black residents appeared to be bearing the brunt of the increase, with a “slight but perceptible rise” in case rates and a slight increase in hospitalizations. And while death rates are declining across the board, Black residents still have “persistently higher” rates of dying from COVID-19.
“While we’re glad to see improvement for so many across our county, it worries us to see more recent small increases and consistent evidence that people in some communities are being left out of this progress,” she said. “Especially since those are the very same communities that were the hardest hit by earlier stages of the pandemic.”
On Thursday, L.A. County reported 10 COVID-19 deaths and 314 new cases, raising the cumulative countywide total to 24,465 deaths and 1,248,415 cases. Ferrer said it was the highest number of new cases reported in a single day since May 15.READ MORE: Firefighters Battling Blaze At Abandoned Hawthorne Mall
She said the small increases in cases, hospitalizations and test positivity rates were “a signal and a reminder to all of us that the virus is still with us.”
Ferrer again called on people to wear face coverings and maintain distance from people outside of their households, especially if they’re not yet vaccinated — especially with continued detection of the Delta variant in the county.
Last week, L.A. County had identified 64 cases of the variant. Ferrer said a total of 123 cases had been identified as of Thursday, though she noted the numbers could not be used to estimate the overall number of infections countywide due to the limited amount of specific testing being done. However, she said the Delta variant continued to represent a larger portion of all COVID mutations detected in the county.
Of all the 123 Delta cases that have been identified, 49 were residents of Palmdale or Lancaster, and 14 of them came from one household. Of the cases, 110 were unvaccinated patients, three were partially vaccinated and 10 were fully vaccinated.
None of the fully vaccinated patients had to be hospitalized, while two of the unvaccinated people were. None of the patients have died as a result of the infection.
“We can take note of the proportion of sequenced variants of concern … that are represented by Delta variants, and we can note in places where we’re seeking variants, we’re finding more infections that are caused by Delta variants,” Ferrer said. “And this likely means that there are more Delta variants in the community.”MORE NEWS: LA City Council Votes To Ban Future Oil Drilling
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