June 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

LA County Public Health Urges Caution As Covid Cases Jump 32 Percent This Week

Increase Likely Related To Fourth of July Activities and Heat As People Stay Indoors

By Dolores Quintana

Recent Public Health data in Los Angeles County has revealed concerning increases in reported COVID-19 cases, virus concentrations in wastewater, and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests. Health experts suspect that the rise in cases may be linked to factors such as Fourth of July festivities, summer travel, and the impact of unusually high temperatures, which are causing people to stay indoors more frequently.

Historical data from the past three summers indicates that the region tends to experience a summer COVID-19 surge. In mid-July 2021, cases and hospitalizations surged significantly. Similarly, in 2022, cases and hospitalizations started to rise earlier, by May 1, but the increase was more gradual.

Public Health reported 2,034 new COVID-19 cases in the latest week, marking a 32 percent increase from the 1,544 cases reported in the previous week. However, it is essential to note that reported cases may not fully reflect the true number of infections, as a large number of at-home COVID test results are not reported to Public Health.

Wastewater concentrations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 infections, have risen to 10 percent of the most recent winter peak for the week ending July 8. This slight increase comes after three consecutive weeks of recording 8 percent concentrations. The test positivity rate, excluding home tests, has climbed to 7.5 percent as of July 15, showing a notable increase from the 5.1 percent rate recorded one month earlier.

Adding to the concerns, Public Health is now reporting more new outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities, where residents are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death from COVID-19. For the week ending July 18, Public Health initiated 11 outbreak investigations, similar to the 12 investigations opened the previous week. In comparison, one month ago, only four new outbreaks were reported during the week ending June 20.

As COVID-19 transmission patterns continue to evolve, county residents are urged to take simple precautions to help reduce the spread of the virus. This includes getting tested if exposed to COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as a sore throat, cough, or fever. Information about testing, including locations for free tests, is available at ph.lacounty.gov/COVIDtests.

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