Delta Variant and Unmasked Intermingling Cause COVID-19 Cases to Increase Four-Fold Since 4th of July; Masking Indoors Begins Tonight.

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For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2021

Nearly two weeks after the Fourth of July holiday and one month after the June 15 reopening, transmission of COVID-19 in L.A. County has rapidly increased to very concerning levels. This is due to the presence of the more infectious Delta variant and the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirmed 1,827 new cases of COVID-19; a four-fold increase from the 457 cases seen on July 4 and an eight-fold increase from the 210 cases seen on June 15. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 3.7%.  On July 4, test positivity was near 1.5% and June 15, test positivity was near 0.5%. There are 462 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized.  On July 4, there were 278 hospitalizations, and on June 15, there were 218.

Because of the alarming increase of COVID-19 infection and the very real health risks to the almost 4 million people in L.A. County who have not been or are not eligible to be vaccinated, including 1.3 million children under 12 years of age, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order was modified to require masking for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status to prevent increased COVID-19 spread.

Effective tonight, Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 11:59 PM, masks will be required in all indoor public places, venues, gatherings, and businesses (including offices, retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, and state and local government offices serving the public). Some exceptions will apply, similar to the exceptions in masking requirements that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening.  This includes exceptions for children under the age of two, for those with certain medical conditions or disabilities that prevent masking, and for those whose job doesn’t permit masking.  Details are available in the revised Health Officer Order.

To date, Public Health identified 1,266,227 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,579 deaths. Of the eleven new deaths reported today, two people that passed away were over the age of 80, two people who passed were between the ages of 65 and 79, five people who passed were between the ages of 50 and 64, one person who passed was between the ages of 30 and 49, and one person who passed was between the ages of 18 and 29. Testing results are available for nearly 7,170,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. 

“To everyone grieving the loss of a loved one, we send you our deepest condolences and wish you healing,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Thankfully, we have over 5 million fully vaccinated residents who are well protected from severe illness and death due to COVID-19.  Given the increased intermingling among unmasked people where vaccination status is unknown, the millions of people still unvaccinated, and the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection. The level of COVID-19 transmission we are currently experiencing is now leading to significant increases in serious illness and hospitalizations, and requires us to take immediate action to prevent erosion of our recovery efforts.  And while vaccinations are by far the most powerful tool we have, we are nowhere near herd immunity.  While we continue efforts to increase vaccination coverage and build confidence in the vaccines, the simplest and most effective public health measure to add back is to require that everyone wear a mask in all indoor public places and businesses.  For those of us already vaccinated, we have been required for the last couple of months to continue to wear masks in many other public places including on all public transit, at all healthcare settings, schools and day care facilities.  This was done in recognition that the vaccines, while extraordinarily effective, are not perfect and that we continue to have an obligation to reduce risk as much as possible. Please help us get back to slowing the spread by wearing your mask indoors. And for those eligible and not yet vaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible as our full recovery is in jeopardy until more people are vaccinated.”   

Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated against COVID-19. You can obtain vaccines at County-run sites, all the LA city-run sites, almost all mobile sites, and many community sites without an appointment. Many sites are open on weekends and have evening hours.

Through Thursday, July 22 at County-run vaccination sites, LA City sites, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center sites, everyone 18 and older coming to get a vaccine will have an opportunity to win one of seven packages of tickets to family fun at the Staples Center, including performances by the Harlem Globetrotters, Disney on Ice, and the Gold Over America tour starring Simone Biles. Official rules and participating site locations are posted online on the Los Angeles County Vaccination Sweepstakes page. Winners will be contacted by phone and/or email.

Visit: (English) and (Spanish) to find a vaccination site near you, to make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more. If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.  Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

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