Several LA County COVID-19 metrics by midweek had shown a decline, including daily cases, daily case rate, positivity rate, and hospitalizations. Although these declines are a positive sign, residents should not take them as an indication to forgo common sense protective measures that will allow these declines to continue.
Utilizing public health safety measures will drive down cases, which will ultimately end staffing shortages, reduce workplace and school outbreaks, and most importantly, keep residents from getting seriously ill and dying.
A little over two weeks ago, on Jan. 11, LA County reported 34,827 new cases, two days after seeing the highest number of new cases since the pandemic began. Public Health had reported 18,822 new cases by Tuesday. While this is still a high number of cases, it represents a 46-percent drop in new cases in two weeks.
Over the same time period, the daily rate of cases per 100,000 residents also decreased by 20 percent and the daily positivity rate decreased by 30 percent.
Additionally, the number of residents getting seriously ill and needing hospitalization has also begun to decline. As hospitalizations lag cases, the number of people hospitalized peaked on Jan. 20 at 4,814 and has slowly declined since, with 4,554 people currently hospitalized. While this decline is small and just beginning, it is hoped with a reduced number of cases, the number of people hospitalized will continue to go down.
It is also important to recognize that while these declines are cause for hopefulness, the number of people dying from COVID-19 is unfortunately increasing, as deaths typically lag increases in cases and hospitalizations. Over the past two weeks, deaths have increased by 140 percent from 15 deaths reported on Jan. 11 to 36 deaths reported Tuesday. Sadly, the number of people dying is expected to continue to increase for the next several weeks.
“I know so many are mourning the loss of a loved one and I send my heartfelt condolences and wishes for healing,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “While we are finally turning a corner on this surge, we will need to remain cautious in order to reduce transmission to a low enough level that it poses less risk for those most vulnerable and less risk for our recovery journey. We are in a different place today because we have more effective tools for managing transmission, and these tools allow us to use different strategies for getting through this surge. Even during the surge, it’s been possible to continue many of our customary activities if we layer in all of the protections now available and take personal responsibility for recognizing our role in reducing transmission.”
To find a vaccination site near you, or to make an appointment, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com.