COVID Hospitalizations Up 366% in 1-Month Period in LA County

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As new COVID-19 infections are largely occurring among the unvaccinated, the rate of residents in Los Angeles County being hospitalized due to the virus has begun to rise at the same rate as new cases, while the death rate is also creeping higher, according to the latest statistics released.

Barbara Ferrer of the Public Health Department said Thursday, "I have been communicating with you that hospitalizations have been increasing twice as rapidly as cases in the past few weeks." Nevertheless, cases and hospitalizations have increased at similar rates between Aug. 4 and July 4.

According to her, infection rates jumped by 387%, while hospitalizations jumped by 366% during that time period.

As a result of the alarming rise in hospitalizations, this virus provides a stark reminder to many people who are infected that it can cause debilitating and critical illness.

The vast majority of people who become infected with the virus and require hospitalization haven't been vaccinated. Roughly 8% now require hospitalization.

A month ago, there were between four and five deaths in a seven-day period.

According to Ferrer, the number of hospitalizations for unvaccinated people over 50 has increased by 240%, and the number of hospitalizations for unvaccinated younger people has risen by 237%.

The proportion of vaccinated residents hospitalized with the virus was only 13.3% in July.

As of Aug. 10, 21,532 out of 5.1 million vaccinated residents of the county have tested positive for COVID-19, representing a 0.42% rate. Among 549 fully vaccinated people, 0.01% were hospitalized, and 0.0011% died. Both the hospitalization and death rates for vaccinated individuals increased from last week.

"These small increases show that even fully vaccinated people are contracting infections and that these very high rates of transmission are causing more fully vaccinated people to contract post-vaccination infections," Ferrer said.

Nevertheless, these data points should reassure people that fully vaccinated individuals have a low risk of becoming infected, still below 1%, and a low risk of dying from the disease if they do become infected.

The trend lines like these are what make us feel so confident that the vaccines are doing what they're supposed to here in Los Angeles County. People who have been vaccinated have exceptional protection against hospitalizations. There is no comparison between the COVID cases seen among vaccinated people and the severe illnesses the infection continues to cause among those who aren't vaccinated, despite the number of hospitalizations and cases seen among vaccinated people.

Despite her remarks, there was actually a slight decrease in hospitalizations among COVID patients in the county that day. On Wednesday, there were 1,648 COVID patients in county hospitals, down from 1,645 on Thursday. Intensive care patients increased by one to 361 from Wednesday.

As of Thursday, COVID-19 has caused 23 more deaths in the county, putting that number at 24,854. Throughout the pandemic, the county reported 3,865 additional cases, giving it a grand total of 1,339,138 cases.

As of Thursday, people testing positive for the virus were testing at a rate of 4.5% compared to 4.7% the week prior.

A minimum of 72% of the county's eligible residents have received a vaccine so far this year, and 63% have been fully vaccinated. More than one million people, including more than a million who aren't eligible for shots because they're under 12 years old, have received at least one shot, and 54% have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated individuals have a 3.6 times lower risk of contracting COVID than unvaccinated individuals.

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