(306575)

The County Department of Public Health (Public Health) this week began investigating 55 ongoing outbreaks; a 25-percent increase from the 44 ongoing outbreak investigations reported a month ago.

While the increase in outbreak investigations is concerning, Public Health notes the number of outbreaks is still much lower than the 1,130 outbreak investigations that were reported in mid-February.

Of the outbreak investigations reported this week, 20 percent are related to outbreaks in non-healthcare and non-residential workplaces.

The best protection against COVID-19 for workers is to be fully vaccinated. Because of increased transmission of COVID-19 and circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant in L.A. County, Public Health encourages everyone who is not vaccinated and are eligible to get vaccinated, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Public Health encourages everyone unvaccinated for COVID-19 to get fully vaccinated as schools and colleges start for the 2021 -2022 school year. If you begin your two-dose series for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines this week, it will allow enough time to be fully protected by the start of the school year. For all of the vaccines, you are only considered fully protected two weeks after all doses are complete.

Masks are required for all not fully vaccinated employees when indoors or in vehicles. Employers are required, upon request, to offer all not fully vaccinated employees who work indoors with a respirator for voluntary use.

Identifying cases early provides an opportunity to contain outbreaks before they spread using appropriate workplace mitigation strategies, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine guidance, targeted vaccination strategies, and alignment of appropriate resources, including County mobile teams and community health workers to get in quickly, to reduce any chances that outbreaks will spread.

In the past two weeks, Public Health has confirmed 1,059 new cases of COVID-19. The number of cases and deaths likely reflect reporting delays over the weekend.

“Over 99 percent of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths we are seeing are among unvaccinated individuals. Of the cases reported today, nearly 87 percent were under 50 years old,” said Dr. Barbara Ferer, director of Public Health. “The COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective and important tool to reduce COVID-19 transmission and the spread of variants like the highly transmissible Delta variant. Getting fully vaccinated is the way we protect you, your family and our community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.”