FRIDAY, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — There is “exponential growth” of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County as the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain, health officials there reported Thursday.
Even though 60% of people older than 16 in the county have been fully vaccinated, the case rate rose from 1.74 cases to 3.5 cases per 100,000 people in one week, according to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health news release, CNN reported.
Unvaccinated people account for 99.96% of all new infections in the nation’s most populous county.
“We do continue to see an uptick in cases and hospitalizations,” Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health’s director, told CNN on Thursday. “Deaths, fortunately continue to be relatively low, but as hospitalizations continue to increase we anticipate that deaths might also increase.”
Across California, the rate of COVID-19 tests that are positive has tripled since the state fully reopened last month. After hitting a low of 0.7% in early June, the rate is now higher than 2% for the first time since March, new data from the state’s Department of Public Health show, CNN reported.
The Delta variant has been found in 43% of new sequenced samples in California, according to state officials.
Nationwide, the Delta variant makes up more than 50% of sequenced samples, but the rate is much higher in some areas, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. In parts of the Midwest and upper Mountain states, it accounts for about 80% of cases.
“Although we expected the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN.
“Widespread vaccination is what will truly turn the corner on this pandemic,” she said. “Please know, if you are not vaccinated, you remain susceptible.”
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID-19.