The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals dropped again Wednesday, while a federal study of local virus statistics found that unvaccinated residents were five times more likely to get infected and 29 times more likely to wind up hospitalized.
The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that between May 1 and July 25, 25.3% of COVID-19 infections in the county occurred among fully vaccinated people, while 71.4% were in unvaccinated people and 3.3% among those who were partially vaccinated.
According to the study, people who were unvaccinated were 4.9 times more likely to be infected with the virus during that period, and 29.2 times more likely to be hospitalized.
“The findings in this report are similar to those from recent studies indicating that COVID-19 vaccination protects against severe COVID-19 in areas with increasing prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant,” according to the CDC report. “Efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage, in coordination with other prevention strategies, are critical to preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. Ongoing surveillance to characterize post-vaccination infections, hospitalizations and deaths will be important to monitor vaccine effectiveness, particularly as new variants emerge.”
County health officials have repeatedly insisted that while people who get vaccinated can still contract the virus, they are far less likely to become seriously ill, require hospitalization or die.
“The data continues to provide reassurance that fully vaccinated people are protected from severe COVID-19 illness,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Wednesday. “Together we must continue to increase COVID-19 vaccinations, in coordination with other prevention strategies like masking, testing, contact tracing and quarantine. These efforts are critical to preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.”
According to state figures, there were 1,731 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, down from 1,747 on Tuesday. There were 463 people in intensive care, the same as Tuesday.
The county reported 36 new COVID-19 fatalities, raising the county’s death toll from throughout the pandemic to 25,150. Another 3,322 cases were also confirmed, raising the cumulative total to 1,391,363.
The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.9% as of Wednesday, up slightly from 2.8% on Monday and Tuesday.
The latest figures show that 73% of county residents age 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 64% are fully vaccinated. Among residents aged 65 and older, 90% have received at least one dose, and 80% are fully vaccinated.
The county Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that inspectors visited 1,874 businesses during the week that ended Friday — and the “majority” of them were in compliance with COVID-19 health restrictions.
Businesses in violation of rules are generally provided with information aimed at helping them achieve compliance, but “five citations were issued to gyms and an office site for noncompliance” with health orders, according to the county.