Los Angeles County is reporting 624 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional deaths associated with the virus Saturday.
The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals increased Saturday, rising from 556 to 565, according to the latest state figures. The number of those patients in intensive care rose from 153 to 155.
Of the nearly 9,370,000 individuals tested to date, 15% have tested positive for the virus, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Health officials urged residents to exercise caution during the Thanksgiving weekend to prevent holiday gatherings from becoming spreading grounds for COVID-19.
“As we all take some much-needed time to rest and gather with loved ones, please remember the risk of COVID-19 transmission continues to be substantial, and unvaccinated people continue to be at higher risk for severe health outcomes,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday. “Taking a common sense approach to the holiday can limit risks.
“Please remember to gather outdoors for as much of your Thanksgiving festivities as is feasible, get tested if you are unvaccinated or have high-risk guests and mask up when indoors if anyone attending is unvaccinated and/or high risk,” she said. “And when you’re out shopping or at community events, mask up and avoid large crowds. We wish you all a safe, healthy and happy holiday.”
The county Department of Public Health recommended that people avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas and maintain distance from others while eating, unless everyone is fully vaccinated.
As usual, anyone who is sick or experiencing COVID symptoms should stay home and get tested, officials said.
Officials are now also keeping a wary eye on the new omicron variant detected in Africa and Europe. A top U.S. health official said Saturday that he wouldn’t be surprised if the variant was already in the United States, but so far there are no reports of it showing up in this country.
The rolling daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.0% as of Friday.
As of last week, 82% of county residents 12 and over had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 73% were fully vaccinated. Of the county’s overall population of 10.3 million people, 71% received at least one dose, and 63% were fully vaccinated.
Black residents continued 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%.