LA County COVID-19 hospitalizations nearly quadruple as Delta variant rages

Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

More businesses requiring patrons to provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test 

ONCE again, Los Angeles County finds itself in hot water as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread across the county, forcing officials, business owners and community leaders to institute stricter measures to mitigate the spread.

As of Monday, Aug. 2, COVID-19-related hospitalizations are at a whopping 1,096 across the county, a “nearly four-fold increase” in a month, according to the county. By comparison, there were only 280 COVID-19 hospitalizations on July 2.

Additionally, the LA County Department of Public Health confirmed 2,361 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday as well as five new deaths. This brings the cumulative new infection total for the county since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,305,704, meaning that around 13% of the entire population of LA County has contracted COVID-19 at least once.

According to the latest available data, as of Monday, about 72% of eligible residents over the age of 16 years old are vaccinated, with 63% fully vaccinated.

That leaves 8.3 million county residents who are eligible for the vaccine but have yet to receive a dose.

“Over the past eight months, millions of people in the U.S., and around the world, have been safely vaccinated. The data overwhelmingly shows the vaccines to be effective at preventing serious illness that causes hospitalization, and death,’’ Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Saturday. “To really beat back transmission, however, we need to have higher levels of vaccination, particularly among our younger residents.’’

Ferrer also pointed out that from Jan. 1 to June 30, 99.8% of those who have died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

She added, “The tragic reality is that almost every single person hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 is unvaccinated and these hospitalizations and deaths are, for the most part, preventable.”

In a statement LA County Public Health noted that, overall, Asian residents have the highest vaccination rates across the county at 77%. White residents were second highest at 66%; the Latino community is about 55% vaccinated and Black residents had the lowest overall rate of vaccination at 46%.

Currently there are 772 county-operated sites offering vaccines, which includes pharmacies, clinics, community centers and hospitals. For the hardest hit areas, the county is currently operating 312 sites with mobile vaccination teams.

Ferrer reminded residents that vaccines are “free of charge to anyone, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status” and “government IDs and/or insurance are not needed.”

In response to the dramatic increase, 33 businesses — particularly bars and restaurants — in the county are taking initiative in curbing the spread by requiring customers and patrons to either show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The California State University and University of California systems have also announced that all students, faculty and staff on campus this coming semester will be required to receive and show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Major corporations like Uber and Disney have also announced that all its employees will be required to be fully vaccinated.

As of press time, the county has not imposed new capacity limits. As previously reported in the Asian Journal, the county reinstated its mask requirement for all indoor public spaces, but if the situation escalates, “anything is on the table,” officials said.

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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