LA County COVID-19 hospitalizations dip; officials pitch power of vaccinations
Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers dipped slightly on Monday, Oct. 18, while health officials again warned of increased risk of infection among the unvaccinated population, compared to their vaccinated counterparts.
According to state figures, there were 632 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Monday, down from 638 on Sunday. Of those patients, 183 were in intensive care, down from 184 on Sunday.
The county reported four more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, lifting the overall death toll from the virus to 26,418. Another 948 cases were also confirmed, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 1,478,622.
Case and death numbers tend to be low on Mondays due to reporting delays from the weekend.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus remained low, at 0.7%.
The county Department of Public Health reiterated statistics Monday aimed at showing the increased risk of COVID infection among unvaccinated people, saying the infection rate for unvaccinated teens is eight times higher than for vaccinated teens. For adults over 50, the rate is five times higher for unvaccinated people, according to the agency.
Unvaccinated residents aged 12 and older are 12 to 22 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts, and the death rate is 32 times highter among residents 18 to 49, according to DPH.
The county’s public health director also noted the COVID-related death Monday of Colin Powell, the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even though he was fully vaccinated. Powell had long battled cancer, dramatically compromising his immune system.
“We join the nation in mourning the death of former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, who has died of COVID complications at the age of 84,” Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “While our data demonstrate the tremendous power of vaccines to prevent severe outcomes of COVID infection, this tragic loss highlights the fact that for vulnerable people, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions including immunosuppression, there is still a small but serious risk of hospitalization or death even after vaccination. This is why masking and distancing remain important layers of protection when transmission of COVID remains high or substantial, and increasing vaccination rates is the beast strategy for reducing exposure risk for everyone.”
According to the most recent county figures, 79% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 70% are fully vaccinated. Among the overall 10.3 million population, including those ineligible for shots, 68% have received at least one dose, and 60% are fully vaccinated.