LOS ANGELES, CA June 21 – Today, Public Health reported two additional deaths and 2,294 new positive cases. Of the two new deaths reported today, two people were aged 80 years or older. Of the two newly reported deaths, all had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 32,263.
Public Health has reported a total of 3,071,314 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 10.6%.
There are 664 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,130,101 individuals, with 23% of people testing positive.
Although cases appear to stabilize, COVID transmission in LA County remains high due to highly infectious Omicron variant sublineages. With high transmission, Public Health continues to encourage caution and the layering of protections, such as masking, testing, and staying away from others if you are sick. These safety measures remain essential to slowing the spread.
The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continued to account for all positive cases for sequenced specimens collected through the week ending May 28, as 90% of specimens testing positive were the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, and its sublineages. The original BA.2 subvariant, and the BA.2.3 sublineage, continued to decrease. The BA.2.12.1 sublineage remains, by far, the predominant sublineage of BA.2, accounting for over 58% of positive sequenced specimens for the week ending May 28.
While the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron continue to remain at low levels in LA County, increased numbers of new cases are detected every week. To date, we have detected a total of 98 positive, sequenced specimens of these two subvariants – 57 of BA.4 and 41 of BA.5. For the week ending May 28, these two subvariants combined accounted for 7.5% of positive specimens, with BA.4 accounting for 3.5%, and BA.5 accounting for 4%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that across the country, as of the week of June 11, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron combined accounted for just under 22% of specimens, a large increase from 1% a month ago. They appear increasingly able to outcompete the BA.2 subvariant and its sublineages.
The number of daily new cases remains high but has stabilized. Over the last seven days the average number of daily new cases reported was 4,260, an 11% decrease from one week ago when the average number of daily new cases reported was 4,788. Additionally, the average case rate also decreased by 11% to 42 new cases per 100,000 people from one week ago when there were 47 new cases per 100,000 people. Despite these metrics stabilizing, the test positivity rate has now increased to 10.6%, a 63% increase from one week ago when the test positivity rate was 6.5%. This increase in the test positivity rate likely reflects the significant reduction, with the end of the school year, in the volume of routine testing. As a result, a greater proportion of the testing is for individuals with symptoms and/or exposures, leading to a higher test positivity rate.
The highly infectious variants and sublineages continue to fuel the number of people severely ill and needing to be hospitalized, although the increase in hospitalizations appear to be slowing. Over the last seven days, the average number of COVID-positive patients per day in LA County hospitals was 636, only a 10% increase from one week ago when the average number of COVID-positive patients per day was 583.
Deaths, which typically lag hospitalizations by several weeks are remaining low and stable with an average of five deaths reported per day this past week.
With pediatric vaccines for children as young as 6 months old approved by the CDC, the vaccines will be widely available across the county beginning tomorrow.
The CDC approved the Pfizer-BioNTech’s three-dose vaccine for children age 6 months through 4 years, and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines for children age 6 months through age 5.
In LA County, more than 900 vaccination sites are scheduled to offer the vaccines to these youngest children including more than 500 mobile sites, 200 pharmacies and seven Public Health Points of Dispensing (PODs). Because some of the pharmacy sites are only licensed to vaccinate children age 3 and older, parents are encouraged to reach out ahead of time to verify hours and availability.
“I send my deepest sympathies and wishes of peace and comfort to the many families who have lost a loved one from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “While several COVID metrics appear to be stabilizing or even slightly decreasing, transmission remains high and Public Health continues strongly encouraging residents and businesses to use caution and the safety protections that we know can slow the spread. The most important steps we can take is for the whole family to get vaccinated or boosted, if eligible, including the youngest members of the household who can now get vaccinated. Residents should also wear a mask indoors when around others, and get tested if they feel sick, were exposed, or are gathering with others. If we keep taking these protections, we can protect one another and begin reducing transmission.”