Los Angeles County health officials reported 2,089 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with health officials expressing concerns about rising hospital admissions as the highly contagious Delta strain continues to spread.
716 people are being treated for Covid-19 in provincial hospitals, up from 452 on July 16, officials said. The province also reported four new deaths, bringing the total to 24,628 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The number of coronavirus cases has risen faster in Los Angeles County than in California as a whole in the past week. The county’s seven-day rolling daily average of new cases is 12.3 per 100,000 residents, compared to a state average of 9.5 per 100,000.
On Friday, officials reported 3,058 new infections, the highest figure since mid-February.
“After many months of low transmission, Los Angeles County is now seeing an increase in cases similar to last summer,” the county’s health department said in a statement.
“This is due to the more contagious Delta variant and the admixture of unmasked individuals whose vaccination status is unknown,” it added.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the county is now on “high” community transmission. “We are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases and unvaccinated people are at the highest risk,” said Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles.
New cases have surged since the critically acclaimed reopening of most California businesses and locations on June 15.
“If we hadn’t fully vaccinated 5.3 million people … we would probably see nearly double the number of cases today,” Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, told the KTLA television station. “As the number of cases continues to rise, many of us are trying to figure out what steps to take to minimize exposure to the virus.”
Ferrer noted on Sunday that more than 90 percent of those now in hospital had not been vaccinated. “The ability of the three vaccines to protect us against serious diseases caused by the Delta variant is well established,” she said.