Los Angeles County is seeing a surge in new Covid-19 coronavirus cases, topping 1,000 for the fifth straight day Wednesday, and though hospitalizations remain low, each infected patient admitted to a county hospital has not had all their vaccine shots, officials said.
“To date, we have not had a patient admitted to a [Department of Health Services] hospital who has been fully vaccinated, with either the J&J, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Every single patient that we’ve admitted for Covid is not yet fully vaccinated,” county health services director Dr. Christina Ghaly told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The Department of Health Services runs four hospitals, including those affiliated with the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, along with 19 health care centers throughout the region.
There are about 400 Covid-19 patients in those hospitals.
Discussing the mental health toll the pandemic has taken on health care workers, a frustrated county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl focused on health care workers “toiling 14, 15, 16 hours a day to take care of them when they don’t want to take care of themselves. I am sorry if I sound angry, but it strikes me as selfish. We can’t rely on herd immunity if the herd won’t get their shots.”
Ghaly agreed, calling the hospitalizations entirely preventable.
“At this point, this really is a preventable illness, a preventable infection, and the health care workers will continue doing everything they can to support the lives and health of the individuals that come in,” she said. “But it’s really been a very challenging year, and I think it’s made all the more challenging because we see the suffering that these patients and their families are going through, and it’s very preventable at this point in time.”
While still well below the spike in cases seen early this year, the increase in cases in Los Angeles is helping drive the state’s positivity rate up to 3%, a level not seen in the state since February. Less than six weeks ago, just before reopening the state’s economy, California’s positivity reached its lowest point of the pandemic — 0.7%.
More than 60% of California residents have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The percentage is slightly higher in Los Angeles County, but daily vaccination rates have been steadily declining over the past couple months, according to data from the county health department.
Yolo County, in the greater Sacramento area, is also seeing an increase in cases and like Los Angeles, is calling for all residents, vaccinated or not, to wear face coverings while inside public places as a preventative measure.
“I am erring on the side of caution to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, said Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “Putting on a mask indoors in settings where you can’t be sure that everyone who is unmasked is fully vaccinated is a simple way to add another layer of protection against Covid-19.”
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