21,790 New Positive Cases and 24 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES, CA, Jan 4 – Although cases have increased among vaccinated people over the past few weeks, Public Health data suggests that vaccines remain extremely protective against the most severe outcomes from COVID infections.

Rate ratios are a key metric for evaluating the protection offered by vaccines. These ratios compare rates of an outcome in unvaccinated people with rates of the same outcome in fully vaccinated people; the higher the rate ratio, the more protective the vaccine is against the outcome.

From December 15-28th, the rate ratio for ICU admission was 21.3, indicating the risk of ICU admission was 21.3 times higher among unvaccinated individuals than among fully vaccinated individuals. For the week of December 19-25th, the age-adjusted death rate in unvaccinated people was 4.5 per 100,000 and 0.02 per 100,000 in vaccinated individuals, yielding a rate ratio for deaths of 22.3 overall. Of note, the rate ratio for deaths has held steady over the course of the latest surge. While increases in deaths generally lag behind transmission surges, increasing the number of people who are vaccinated will help reduce the worst outcomes of Covid infections.

“I send my heartfelt condolences to those families who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Even as transmission surges, we are seeing that vaccines are doing what they were intended to do, which is protect people from getting severely ill due to Covid.”

“We are grateful to the 80% of eligible residents who have already received at least one dose of vaccine – and we hope that the almost 2 million people who have yet to be vaccinated take time to talk with their health care provider to receive additional information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines,” Ferrer continued. “Choosing not to take the vaccine during this explosive winter surge is very risky since so many of those ill with Covid in the intensive care units at hospitals are unvaccinated, and tragically, some of these individuals will not survive. So, as we start this new year, please protect yourselves by getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible and give others around you the peace of mind that comes from reducing the risk of a terrible outcome as more and more people are infected with this virus.”

Today, Public Health confirmed 24 additional deaths and 21,790 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 24 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 18 and 29, two people were between the ages of 30 and 49, four were between the ages of 50-64, seven were between the ages of 65-79, and nine were over the age of 80 years old. Of the 24 newly reported deaths, 20 had underlying conditions. Information on the one death reported by the City of Pasadena is available at www.CityofPasdena.net To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 27,671.

Public Health is reminding residents to avoid visiting the emergency room unless they need emergency medical care. Residents should not be visiting the emergency department solely to get a COVID test or for minor complaints that could be resolved through their primary care physician. Emergency room visits should be reserved for those patients who are feeling severely ill – for example, those who are short of breath – or who have serious concerns about their health and who require immediate emergency care.

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