Another 29 COVID-19 deaths and 725 new infections were confirmed by Los Angeles County in its latest data, with the relatively low case number attributed to a drop-off in testing with schools across the area closed due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The 29 new deaths raised the county’s overall virus-related death toll to 27,046, while the new cases gave the county a cumulative pandemic total of 1,521,197.
Public health officials noted that as many as 100,000 tests a day are normally conducted at schools across the county, so campus holiday closures are resulting in a significant drop in testing numbers.
According to state figures, there were 551 COVID-19-positive patients in county hospitals as of Tuesday, down from 558 on Monday. Of those patients, 158 were in intensive care, up slightly from 156 on Monday.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 1.1% as of Tuesday.
Health officials continued to lament disparities in vaccination rates among ethnic groups, with Black and Latino/a residents continuing to lag behind the rest of the population.
Among newly eligible children aged 5-11, only 4% of those in the Black community had received one dose of vaccine as of Nov. 14, and 3% of Latino children. That compares to 13% of white children in that age range and 14% of Asian children.
“During earlier surges, disparities in outcomes, which affected Black and Latinx residents the most, reflected differences in work exposures or living conditions,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “More recently, these disparities in outcomes have been fueled by differences in vaccination status that fall along racial and ethnic lines. If we continue to see disparities in pediatric vaccination that put Black and Latinx children at higher risk when transmission increases, we could once again see a situation where these communities suffer the most during a surge.”
Ferrer said last week 82% of county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 73% are fully vaccinated. Of the county’s overall population of 10.3 million people, 71% have received at least one dose, and 63% are fully vaccinated.
Black residents continue to have the lowest vaccination rates, at 54%, followed by Latina/o residents at 59%, whites at 72% and Asians at 80%.
Of the roughly 5.99 million residents who were fully vaccinated as of Nov. 16, 75,249 have subsequently tested positive for the virus, for a rate of 1.26%, Ferrer said. Of the vaccinated population, 2,528 have been hospitalized, for a rate of 0.042%, and 422 have died, a rate of 0.007%.