LA County COVID Deaths Skew Younger; Case Rates Rising Among Children – NBC Los Angeles

on Aug29
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Public Health officials have reported 3,627 new COVID-19 cases and 30 more deaths, as the fatalities continue to skew younger.

Of the latest deaths reported Saturday, just three were people over the age of 80, while seven were under age 50, including one under 30, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

To date, Public Health has identified 1,400,837 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 25,240 deaths.

There are 1,708 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, and 26% are in intensive care units.

Testing results are available for more than 8,066,000 people, with 16% testing positive. Saturday’s daily test positivity rate was 2.4%.

Case rates among children have increased significantly. Among unvaccinated children ages 12 to 18, the case rate rose from 73 to 307 new cases per 100,000 youth, while the rate among vaccinated children rose from 11 to 76 new cases per 100,000, resulting in a four-fold difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

“Case, hospitalization and death rates are higher among unvaccinated members of all groups than they are among those vaccinated,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Vaccinated people continue to have rates for all outcomes that are many-fold lower than those unvaccinated — they are four to eight times less likely to be hospitalized, and five to seven times less likely to die from an infection.”

“During this period of high transmission, protecting those younger than 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, is of utmost importance, and we can all take as many precautions as feasible to limit risk of transmission.”

She provided a list of safety precautions, including:

— moving activities outdoors whenever possible;

— distancing and avoiding crowds;

— masking always when indoors and outdoors if distancing isn’t possible; and

— carefully assessing nonessential activities that carry more risk of transmission.

“These precautions, together with vaccinations for all those eligible, protect our youngest county residents and help keep our schools open.”

On Friday, Ferrer cited case statistics involving schools, calling the results “somewhat sobering.”

She said that during the week of Aug. 16-22, 3,186 new cases were confirmed in schools, with the highest percentage involving Los Angeles Unified School District campuses, where weekly testing is required.

During the month of August, 14 school “outbreaks” have been confirmed, involving three or more linked infections, with Ferrer noting that half of them were associated with youth sports.

“This virus continues to cause serious, life-threatening illness among many who are infected, and the differences in death rates between unvaccinated and vaccinated people are stark,” Ferrer said in a statement.

She said that average daily deaths have increased by 6% over the past week, reaching a seven-day daily average of 18 per day, adding that unvaccinated people are seeing the brunt of the deaths.

“Unvaccinated adults ages 18 to 49 have a death rate of almost 2 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with almost no deaths among vaccinated members of this age group. Meanwhile, adults over 50 who are unvaccinated were 28 times more likely to die as a result of COVID-19 than those over 50 who are vaccinated.”

County officials have been reporting slight increases in cases among residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities over the past month, despite the relatively high vaccination rates in such facilities. Officials attributed the increases to the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, which is blamed for the majority of current infections across the country.

According to the county Department of Public Health, 102 COVID cases were confirmed in skilled nursing facilities during the week ending Aug. 15 — 25 among residents and 77 among staff — along with three resident deaths. Over the previous four weeks, an average of 79 new cases were reported at nursing facilities.

The county has begun administering third doses of COVID vaccines for “immunocompromised” residents at nursing facilities. So far, about 150 such shots have been administered.

“Vaccinations are what create a powerful layer of protection for nursing home residents — and this protection has limited the devastation of Delta for some of our most vulnerable residents,” Ferrer said.

According to Ferrer, 74% of eligible L.A. County residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 64% are fully vaccinated. Of the county’s overall population of about 10.3 million people — including those under age 12 who aren’t eligible for the shots — 63% have received at least one dose, and 55% are fully vaccinated.

Again highlighting the effectiveness of the vaccines, Ferrer noted that among 5.2 million residents who were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, 32,678 tested positive for the virus, for a rate of 0.63%. Only 881 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized, for a rate of 0.017%, and 95 have died, for a 0.0018% rate.

Ferrer noted that unvaccinated Black residents continue to have the highest rate of new COVID infections, but that population saw a 28% decline in the infection rate over the past two weeks.

“We are concerned, however, by the continued rise in the case rate among unvaccinated Latinx residents, who have seen their cases increase by 200% over the last month.”

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