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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The number of COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles County hospitals continues rising—with the total more than doubling over the past two weeks as infections surge.

According to state figures, there were 1,503 COVID-19-positive patients in L.A. County hospitals as of Monday morning, the highest number since Feb. 28. According to the county Department of Public Health, there were just 745 COVID patients in hospitals on July 26.

County health officials said last week that between May 1 and July 17, there were 3,158 people with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals, and 92% of them were not fully vaccinated.

Of the 1,503 COVID patients in hospitals, 348 were in intensive care, according to state numbers.

"The significant increase in hospitalizations is of great concern," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

"With the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, we are hopeful that more people will get vaccinated during this time of very high transmission. Throughout this pandemic, people who live with chronic illnesses have suffered serious outcomes of COVID-19 infection. Because chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity dramatically increase the risk of getting severely ill or dying with COVID-19 infection, vaccination is particularly important for people living with these conditions.

"Everyone eligible for vaccination is urged to get vaccinated, especially if you have any chronic health conditions. Please talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about getting vaccinated."

Ferrer and other county officials have repeatedly stressed that while fully vaccinated people can still become infected with the virus, they are far less likely to become seriously ill or require hospitalization.

As of Aug. 3, among roughly 5 million fully vaccinated people in the county, 15,628 had tested positive for the virus, for an infection rate of 0.31%. Just 446 were hospitalized, for a rate of 0.009% and 41 had died, a rate of 0.0008%.

The county on Monday reported another 2,919 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, noting that the number may be low due to standard delays in reporting of statistics from the weekend. The new cases gave the county a total from throughout the pandemic of 1,329,262.

Another six deaths were also reported, lifting the county's pandemic death toll to 24,783.

The rolling daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 4.4% as of Monday, down from 6% last week.

Ferrer noted last week that the testing-positivity rate and the average daily number of new cases in the county appeared to be leveling off, perhaps signaling a slowing of the current surge in the pandemic.

The county also recorded a third consecutive week of increases in the number of people receiving a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, following months of declines.

As of last week, 6.22 million county residents age 12 and over had received at least one dose, and 5.45 million were fully vaccinated. Of the county's overall 10.3 million residents—including more than a million who aren't eligible for the shots because they are under age 12—61% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 53% are fully vaccinated.