Officials urge vaccinations

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County ticked upward again Monday as health officials encouraged people to get vaccinated, again warning that unvaccinated residents are far more susceptible to becoming severely ill or dying if they get infected.

According to state figures, there were 632 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Monday, up from 600 on Sunday. Of those hospitalized, 156 were being treated in intensive care, down from 163 the previous day. Another 10 COVID-19 deaths were reported by the county Department of Public Health, giving the county an overall virus death toll of 26,872.

Meanwhile, 824 new infections were reported, a typically low number for a Monday due to lags in reporting of test results from the weekend. The new cases gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 1,512,147.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 1 percent as of Monday. The county’s cumulative seven-day case rate, as estimated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rose last week to 98 cases per 100,000 residents. That number was in the mid-70s two weeks ago. At 98 cases per 100,000 residents, the county is on the verge of being downgraded out of the CDC’s “substantial” transmission category to the “widespread” category.

“Our weekly case rate is 98 new cases per 100,000 residents, reflecting continued substantial and borderline high transmission across the county,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday. “Unfortunately, increased transmission among those not vaccinated will affect vaccinated people, as well — which is why additional protections such as masking remain so important. Getting vaccinated, getting boosters, and masking up indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces remains critical as we confront the real possibility of a winter surge.”

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