As COVID-19 cases have dwindled in Los Angeles County, so have diagnoses of a virus-related pediatric inflammatory malady, with just eight new cases reported over the past two months, according to health officials.
Cases of Multi-symptom Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, spiked during the countywide winter COVID surge. There were 100 MIS-C cases reported in the county in January and February, representing half of the overall number from throughout the pandemic.
The syndrome is considered rare, but it is potentially deadly for patients who contract it. Of the 200 children diagnosed with the malady in the county, all required hospitalization, and 36% wound up in intensive care. Two children died from the syndrome.
The Latino/a community was the most impacted, representing 73% of the cases.
But with COVID-19 numbers dropping to pandemic lows, the incidence of MIS-C has dropped as well. According to the county Department of Public Health, just eight cases have been confirmed in April and May.
Meanwhile, the county is preparing with the rest of the state to lift the bulk of COVID-19 health restrictions on Tuesday. But health officials urged residents to continue being cautious, with only about half of the population fully vaccinated.
“Protecting L.A. County’s residents remains a top priority as physical distancing requirements and capacity limits are lifted on June 15,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “COVID-19 transmission that continues to occur among unvaccinated people is resulting in hospitalizations and deaths. While masks will not be required in many settings beginning June 15, face coverings remain an excellent means of protection for those not yet ready to get vaccinated.
“Fully vaccinated people are the most protected, so we ask everyone eligible to receive the vaccine and are not yet vaccinated, to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can,” she said.
Through next Thursday, anyone who gets a first vaccine dose at sites run by the county, city or St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will be entered for a chance to win season tickets for the Clippers, Chargers or Rams. The contest is also open to anyone who comes in for a second-dose appointment and brings along another person who needs a first dose.
The state of California on Tuesday will wrap up its financial incentive program, holding a drawing to give away $1.5 million each to 10 vaccinated residents.
Long Beach officials, meanwhile, will offer its residents a chance to win either a two-night hotel stay, a $50 cash card or a $50 gift card for Fandango, Target or Walmart if they get vaccinated by Saturday. That contest is open to anyone who comes in for their first dose of vaccine. Long Beach officials said that since they began offering incentives last month, vaccine appointments have doubled.
The county announced another five COVID-19 deaths on Friday, lifting the overall death toll to 24,416.
Another 198 cases were also announced, raising the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 1,245,949.
According to state figures, there were 236 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the county as of Friday, down from 240 on Thursday, with 43 people in intensive care, down from 45 the previous day.