Vaccinations urged as Los Angeles County hospitalizations decline

LA County Library and Department of Public Health host a covid-19 vaccine clinic at Los Nietos Library in Whittier, on August 24, 2021. Vaccines are free and available to everyone 12 years and older. ( Mayra Vasquez / Los Angeles County )

LOS Angeles County’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers and case rates dropped this week, as public health officials continue to tout the benefits of the vaccine.

COVID-19 case rates for teens are 8 times greater for those unvaccinated than those vaccinated and for unvaccinated adults over 50, case rates are fivefold higher than those for their vaccinated counterparts, and 1,124 cases per 100,000 unvaccinated people compared with 222 cases per 100,000 vaccinated people, the county Department of Public Health said on Monday, October 18.

Among residents 12 and older, unvaccinated people are 12 to 22 times likelier to be hospitalized than vaccinated residents 12 and older. Death rates are 32 times higher among unvaccinated residents 18 to 49 years old, 8 deaths per 100,000 unvaccinated people compared with 0.25 deaths per 100,000 vaccinated people, and 20 times higher among unvaccinated adults over 50, 99 deaths per 100,000 unvaccinated people compared with 5 deaths per 100,000 vaccinated people. These numbers demonstrated the true magnitude of the protection afforded by the vaccines.

Among the more than 5.7 million fully vaccinated people in L.A. County, Public Health identified 60,689 people fully vaccinated who tested positive for COVID-19 as of October 9. In all, a little over 1% of fully vaccinated people in L.A. County have tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 2,043 were hospitalized, which translates to 0.04% of all fully vaccinated people.  There have been 311 deaths among fully vaccinated people or 0.005% of fully vaccinated people passed away.

Public Health confirmed four new deaths and 948 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The number of cases and deaths likely reflect reporting delays over the weekend. Of the four new deaths reported, one person who passed away was over the age of 80, one person who died was between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. To date, Public Health has identified 1,478,622 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 26,418 deaths.

There are 638 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for nearly 8,904,000 individuals with 15% of people testing positive. Monday’s test positivity rate is 0.7%.

“To the families grieving the loss of a loved one to COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies and keep you in our thoughts and prayers,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “We join the nation in mourning the death of former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, who has died of COVID complications at the age of 84. While our data demonstrate the tremendous power of vaccines to prevent severe outcomes of COVID infection, this tragic loss highlights the fact that for vulnerable people, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions including immunosuppression, there is still a small but serious risk of hospitalization or death even after vaccination. This is why masking and distancing remain important layers of protection when transmission of COVID remains high or substantial; and increasing vaccination rates is the best strategy for reducing exposure risk for everyone.”

Vaccinations are widely available throughout LA County and are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Anyone 12 and older living or working in LA County can get vaccinated. Appointments are not needed at many sites and all Public Health vaccination sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

Vaccinated middle and high school students are eligible for free UCLA football tickets. UCLA has partnered with Public Health to give away free tickets to a UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl to middle or high school students in L.A. County who’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while tickets last. Students aged 12 to 18 who’ve received at least one dose can sign up for the free tickets online by visiting:  http://ph.lacounty.gov/DPHUCLAVaxforTix.

Visit:  www.VaccinateLACounty.com  (English) to find a vaccination site near you, make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more. If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home visit if you are homebound. (AJPress) 

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