News Release
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For Immediate Release:

August 19, 2021

L.A. County Surpasses 25,000 COVID-19 Deaths; Public Health Monitors for School Cases and Outbreaks - 35 New Deaths and 3,239 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County surpassed the grim milestone of losing more than 25,000 residents to COVID-19. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is one of the leading causes of death – surpassing stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. To date, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) identified 1,362,848 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 25,002 deaths.

Today, Public Health confirms 35 new deaths and 3,239 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 35 new deaths reported today, nine people who passed away were over the age of 80, 11 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, nine people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, four people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and two people who died were between the ages of 18 and 29.

The County’s 7-day cumulative case rate is now 204.2 new cases per 100,000 residents, which represents a 5% increase from last week.

There are 1,790 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 23% of these people are in the ICU.

Between July 11 and August 11, hospitalizations rose by 333% to an average of 1,622 beds filled with people testing positive for COVID-19 on any given day, and deaths rose 275% to an average of 15 deaths per day.

Testing results are available for nearly 7,850,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 3.7%; a decrease from last week’s same-day rate of 4.5%. As schools and institutes of higher education return to session and their routine testing programs come back online, Public Health expects to see hundreds of thousands more test results each week and in parallel with those, increases in cases.

With many school districts countywide reopening this week and in the near future, Public Health is monitoring school cases in outbreaks among staff and students. There are several types of Public Health teams working with schools to ensure the safety of students and staff. School technical assistance or STAT teams reach out to schools proactively to assess preventive readiness and advise on options for improvement. Exposure management teams follow up on cases reported by schools and help identify possible sources of infection as well as close contacts, while also ensuring that schools provide appropriate isolation guidance to infected staff or students and their parents. And if more than one case is identified at a given school, educational setting outbreak teams will work with the school to determine whether these cases are connected. If evidence of contagion at a school site emerges, this team will take over the investigation and help the school identify steps it can take to reduce risk to the broader school community.

In the 24 hours between 8:00 a.m. August 17 and 8:00 a.m. August 18, 118 new K-12-associated cases were reported. Public Health teams are working closely with schools to ensure that positive cases are isolated and close contacts quarantined to reduce additional transmission at schools.

To ensure transparency with school communities, Public Health will launch an online school dashboard in September. The dashboard will include a district map shaded to provide district level information on testing volume, community case rates, and community vaccination rates. The dashboard will also display school level information, including numbers of student and staff cases, details on outbreaks at the school, and the number of students at the school required to quarantine.

"I extend my deepest condolences to all those who have lost friends, loved ones, and family. Please know that our hearts and our prayers are with you today and always,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “It is with much sorrow that we mark this devastating milestone of 25,000 deaths in our County. This virus continues to cause debilitating and dangerous illness among many who are infected. Losses we suffer now are particularly sad because almost all of them are preventable with extremely safe and widely available vaccines. Given the importance of continuing our recovery journey, we need to act with a sense of urgency to reduce community transmission as quickly as possible. Layering on public health protections is sensible, while noting that the most effective tool for slowing the spread is the vaccine. Right now, the people who need to be getting vaccinated are those 12 and over who haven’t yet received their first doses; the people due for their second doses, which includes everyone more than 3 weeks out from their first dose of Pfizer and more than 4 weeks out from their first dose of Moderna; and immunocompromised people who now are approved for their third doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.”

As of August 15, 90% of LA County residents 65 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, as have 74% of residents 16 and over and 73% of residents 12 and over. Sixty-three percent of residents 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. Of L.A. County teens between the ages of 12 and 17, 56% have received at least one dose and 46% are fully vaccinated. Out of the nearly 10.3 million L.A. County residents, including those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, 63% have received at least one dose, and 55% are fully vaccinated.

Among the more than 5.1 million fully vaccinated people in L.A. County, Public Health identified 27,331 people fully vaccinated who tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 17; this is less than 1% of all those vaccinated. Of those who tested positive, 742 were hospitalized, up from 549 the week prior. This translates to 0.014% of all fully vaccinated people ending up hospitalized. Deaths in this group over this interval increased, from 55 to 68, to 0.0013%. These small increases reflect the reality that the vaccines do not provide 100% protection, and that with high rates of community transmission, more fully vaccinated people are getting post vaccination infections. However, this very same information also makes it clear how much protection vaccinated people still have; most fully vaccinated people do not get infected, they don’t end up hospitalized, and they are very unlikely to tragically lose their life to COVID-19.

Federal officials announced changes to vaccination strategies aimed at increasing the protection afforded to people by vaccines. With emerging data indicating that certain populations will need more support to be protected, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on August 13 recommended a third dose of mRNA vaccines for immunocompromised people, including transplant recipients, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, people actively receiving cancer treatment, and people taking immunosuppressive medications. Third doses have been available to eligible individuals at vaccination sites across the county since Saturday. Additionally, following yesterday’s announcement by the CDC that booster doses of mRNA vaccines will be offered to all vaccinated people, Public Health is continuing to work with staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities to prioritize these most vulnerable residents for booster doses to be prepared for administering these as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives their approval.

Public Health notes the difference between third doses and booster doses is more than just language. Third doses are meant to elicit an antibody response where there was an inadequate antibody response before, while booster doses are meant to increase antibody levels that have waned after a robust increase in the months after vaccination.

Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. To find a vaccination site near you, make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.

COVID-19 Sector Protocols, Best Practices, COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 1362848*

Deaths 25002

Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Hospitalization

Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

CITY / COMMUNITY** Cases (Case Rate)

These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation. 63 cases previously reported were not in Public Health's jurisdiction. * Means that case numbers include cases associated with correctional facility outbreaks located in the city/community. **Rate is crude and is per 100,000. This represents the number of cases per 100,000 people and allows for the proportional comparison of cities of different sizes.

The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth .lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.




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