Los Angeles County health officials reported another 1,096 COVID-19 cases Friday, along with 17 new virus-related deaths, while insisting that the currently available vaccine booster shot provides strong protection for older residents against severe illness from an infection.
The new cases gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,694,317. The daily case numbers released by the county are undercounts of actual virus activity in the county, due to people who use at-home tests and don’t report the results, and others who don’t test at all.
With 17 new virus-related fatalities, the county’s COVID death toll rose to 35,545.
According to state figures, there were 687 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Friday, down from 699 on Thursday. Of those patients, 75 were being treated in intensive care units, down from 85 a day earlier.
Touting the benefits of the latest COVID vaccine, county health officials said Friday that older residents inoculated with the bivalent booster shot are dramatically less likely to be hospitalized or die if they are infected with the virus.
According to the county, unvaccinated adults aged 80 and above were more than three times as likely to be hospitalized and more than 5 1/2 times as likely to die than those who had received the bivalent booster. For people aged 65 to 79, unvaccinated people were 12 times more likely to be hospitalized thank those with the latest booster shot, and nearly 16 times more likely to die, according to the Department of Public Health.
“The data clearly shows that the bivalent booster provides substantial protection against hospitalization and death across all age groups, and this is especially important for older residents who face the great risks,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “While the continued affirmation that our vaccines and the new bivalent booster work well is great news, it is also distressing to know that resources that help prevent death are available, and that they are not being taken full advantage of.”
According to the health agency, the county’s current seven-day rate of infections is 72 new cases per 100,000 people, roughly stable with the previous week. The seven-day rate of new COVID-related hospital admissions was 7.5 per 100,000 residents, up slightly from 7 the previous week.