By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 2,551 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. This is a 20-fold increase in a month, with 124 new COVID-19 cases reported on June 21.

Wednesday’s test positivity rate is 5.2%; the rate was 0.7% a month ago, public health officials said.

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Los Angeles County health officials are blaming the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus and increases in people mingling in public.

Of the new cases reported by public health, 83% are among people under the age of 50 years old with 65% of new cases among people between the ages of 18 and 49 years old, the department said.

There are 585 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 23% of these people are in the ICU. On June 21, there were 213 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Of the seven new deaths reported Wednesday, two people that passed away were between the ages of 65 and 79, three people who passed were between the ages of 50 and 64, and one person who passed was between the ages of 30 and 49.

One death was reported by the City of Long Beach. To date, Public Health identified 1,273,390 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,594 deaths. Testing results are available for more than 7,200,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive.

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People who are not vaccinated are at the highest risk of getting infected with COVID-19, health officials warned. Unvaccinated adults who are older or who have certain medical conditions are at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection public health officials recommend individuals:

-Get vaccinated.
-Wear a mask that fits.
-Avoid crowded places.
-Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer often.
-Avoid eating and touching your face with unwashed hands.
-Stay home when sick.

In Los Angeles County, everyone 2 years of age and older must wear a mask in all indoor public places, regardless of their vaccination status, health officials said.

The public health department said Wednesday everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to wear a mask on all public transit and transit hubs, at all health care settings, correctional facilities, shelters and cooling centers, and schools and daycare facilities.

“To everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19, we send you our thoughts and prayer,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Because of the more infectious Delta variant and the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown, unfortunately, we are seeing a surge in cases in LA.”

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Anyone 12 and older living or working in LA County can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations are widely available throughout LA County and many sites are open on weekends and have evening hours.