As COVID-19 Circulation Remains Elevated in Los Angeles County, Vaccination, Other Sensible Precautions Strongly Recommended
AMTV, LOS ANGELES, Jan 25 – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports that the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses remains elevated despite some COVID-19 metrics — including cases, hospitalizations, and deaths — decreasing slightly over the past week.
In Los Angeles County, wastewater concentrations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, appear to be plateauing at a high level, with concentrations at 67 percent of last year’s winter peak for the week ending Jan. 13, similar to the concentrations for the previous week. Wastewater concentrations provide a more complete picture of COVID-19 transmission levels than reported cases alone.
Other indicators have declined but remain at heightened levels. The reported daily average of COVID-19 cases decreased to 422 this week from 462 the previous week. Reported cases do not include home test results, so the actual number of COVID-19 infections in the community is much higher. The daily average of COVID-positive hospitalizations decreased to 727 for the week ending Jan. 20, from 776 a week earlier. Public Health is reporting an average of 4.9 deaths per day for the week ending Jan. 1, a decrease from 5.6 deaths per day reported for the previous week.
Flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) also continue to spread at lower but still elevated levels in Los Angeles County. There was an average of 263 influenza-positive hospitalized patients per day for the week ending Jan. 13, a decrease from the average of 384 influenza-positive hospitalized patients per day the week before. Data from sentinel surveillance laboratories shows that for the week ending Jan. 13, 12.4 percent of specimens tested for influenza and 7.8 percent of specimens tested for RSV were positive, compared to 13.8 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, the previous week.
Because COVID-19 and other respiratory virus indicators remain elevated, sensible precautions, such as getting vaccinated and, if sick, staying home, testing, and seeking treatment are still strongly recommended, especially for older adults and other people at higher risk for severe illness. Getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. At least one dose of the updated vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older. For more information about vaccines, visit ph.lacounty.gov/vaccines.
To help stem the spread of respiratory viruses this winter, residents should stay home when sick and test if they have symptoms or were exposed to COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms can leave isolation once they are fever free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication AND other symptoms are mild and improving, provided they wear a well-fitting high-quality mask when around others for 10 days following symptom onset. Individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms are not required to isolate provided they wear a well-fitting, high-quality respiratory mask whenever they are around other people for 10 days following their first positive test result.
Other simple precautions include washing hands frequently and wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask in crowded indoor spaces, such as airports, transit centers and venues with poor ventilation. This is especially important for residents who are at higher risk for severe illness or plan to spend time with people who are older or have underlying health conditions that can make them more vulnerable to getting very sick from respiratory illnesses. For more information on precautions against respiratory viruses, visit the Public Health website.
For free and reliable information about COVID-19 and other health-related topics, call the Public Health InfoLine at 1-833-540-0473. Specially trained staff can help residents get free vaccines and at-home test kits, secure a telehealth appointment for medicine to treat COVID-19 and, for people who have difficulty leaving their homes, to arrange to be vaccinated at home. The InfoLIne is free and available to Los Angeles County residents, regardless of their insurance or immigration status, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Public Health reports COVID-19 data weekly. The following table shows case, wastewater, emergency department, hospitalization, and death data in Los Angeles County over the past four weeks.