1,447 New Positive Cases and 7 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County
Shifts in COVID-19 Case Rates May Indicate Winter Surge; All Residents Should Get Updated Fall COVID-19 Booster Now
AMTV/LOS ANGELES, CA, Nov 05 – Today, L.A. County Department of Public Health reported 7 additional deaths and 1,447 new positive cases. Of the seven new deaths reported today, four people were between the ages of 65-79 and three people were aged 80 years or older. Of the seven newly reported deaths, all had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 33,999.
Public Health has reported a total of 3,493,150 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 5.0%
There are 453 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,653,863 individuals, with 24% of people testing positive.
For the past month, LA County has been noting signals that the COVID-19 case rate may no longer be declining locally. The steady decline observed since July appeared to plateau in mid-October. This week, LA County is reporting a nearly 10% increase in the 7-day-average case from one week ago. Careful monitoring of case rates, as well as the LA County Early Alert signals, will continue to help LA County prepare for a potential COVID-19 surge this winter fueled by more infectious variants.
While Omicron BA.5 continues to be the dominant subvariant, each week it is accounting for a smaller proportion of samples. As of the week ending Oct. 15, it accounted for about 72% of sequenced specimens. BF.7, a descendant of BA.5, makes up the second largest proportion of cases sequenced at 7.8%.
Recently, Public Health added two additional descendant strains of BA.5 to weekly variant reporting: BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. Each of these sublineages account for 3.4% of sequenced specimens for the week ending October 15.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as of about two weeks ago, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 combined, accounted for nearly 17% of cases across the country, up considerably from about 9% the week before. There are reports that BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 have some growth advantages over some of the other sublineages, and they may begin to increase here as well.
One thing that everyone can do to prepare is to make sure they have the updated COVID-19 Fall bivalent booster, available for people 5 years and older. A bivalent booster that can protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the more recently spreading Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. These two subvariants are different, but they have the same spike protein, and the new Fall bivalent booster offers protection against both. The bivalent booster is also expected to provide protection against the BQ strains.
Unfortunately, in LA County, uptake of the bivalent booster lags. While nearly 85% of residents ages 5 and older have received their primary vaccine series, only 11% of eligible people, those who have the primary series vaccine and for those who it has been more than two months since their last COVID booster, have received the new bivalent booster. Of the nearly 1.27 million residents ages 65 and older who are eligible for a bivalent booster dose, only about 20%, 283,000 people, have received one. More than 980,000 people in this older age group, who are more vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19, are eligible for the new booster, yet have not received it.
These updated Fall COVID-19 boosters, plus flu vaccines, are readily available at Public Health sites, pharmacies, and other locations across the county. Seniors and residents who can’t easily leave their home can contact Public Health telehealth services at (833) 540-0473, seven days a week, from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm to arrange for at-home COVID-19 Fall booster and primary series vaccinations or transportation to a vaccination center. Insurance is not required, and callers can be assisted in multiple languages.
Residents can also go to VaccinateLACounty.com to find nearby vaccination sites, request a mobile vaccination team for your worksite or community event, or an in-home visit if you or someone you know is homebound.
The 7-day average case count in the county is 1,083, a nearly 10% increase from one week ago when the 7-day average of 988 cases was reported.
Over the past seven days, the average number of daily COVID-positive patients in LA County hospitals increased slightly to 403. The week before, the average daily COVID-positive patients per day was 389.
Deaths, which typically lag hospitalizations by several weeks, have decreased slightly and they are at an average of 8 deaths reported each day this past week.
“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. “With recent unusually high levels of flu and other respiratory diseases, there are signs the county could be headed toward a COVID surge this fall and winter. As families are about to start their holiday travel and get-togethers, it continues to be important to follow simple steps to prevent respiratory illness and COVID-19. The first, and most important, health measure we can take is to receive the new COVID-19 bivalent booster if we are at least two months out from our last dose. More than seven million people in LA County face waning immunity from their previous vaccine and booster doses, and with few community-wide safety measures in place, more people may be vulnerable this fall and winter. Getting the new updated booster is likely to help keep many out of the hospital, which could keep our healthcare system from getting overwhelmed. Other sensible health steps include getting the seasonal flu vaccine, washing hands frequently, wearing well-fitted, high filtration masks to limit the spread of disease, and staying home if you do become ill with respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, a sore throat, or fever.”