Los Angeles County reported another 1,635 cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths Sunday, as the county continues to see a resurgence in the pandemic that has seen local case rates and hospitalizations skyrocket. It was the tenth consecutive day that at least 1,000 new cases were reported.
Sunday's figures -- which brought the county's totals to 1,267,860 cases and 24,583 fatalities since the pandemic began -- likely reflect reporting delays over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County due to the virus jumped from 507 on Saturday to 528, while the number of those patients in intensive care rose from 103 to 112, according to state figures.
Sunday's daily test positivity rate was 3.8%. On July 4, it was near 1.5% and on June 15 -- the day most statewide restrictions were lifted -- test positivity was near 0.5%. Health officials have attributed the recent spike to the presence of the more infectious Delta variant and the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown.
A new face-covering mandate went into effect in Los Angeles County at 11:59 p.m. Saturday that requires everyone to wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of their vaccination status.
“Given the increased intermingling among unmasked people where vaccination status is unknown, the millions of people still unvaccinated, and the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
“The level of COVID-19 transmission we are currently experiencing is now leading to significant increases in serious illness and hospitalizations, and requires us to take immediate action to prevent erosion of our recovery efforts.”
California COVID-19 Vaccinations
The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient's county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.
“And while vaccinations are by far the most powerful tool we have, we are nowhere near herd immunity. While we continue efforts to increase vaccination coverage and build confidence in the vaccines, the simplest and most effective public health measure to add back is to require that everyone wear a mask in all indoor public places and businesses. For those of us already vaccinated, we have been required for the last couple of months to continue to wear masks in many other public places including on all public transit, at all health care settings, schools and day care facilities. This was done in recognition that the vaccines, while extraordinarily effective, are not perfect and that we continue to have an obligation to reduce risk as much as possible.”
Not everyone at the county is on board with the new mandate. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday his deputies will not actively enforce the mask-wearing mandate, insisting his department is under-funded.
He also said the requirement for vaccinated people to wear masks “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”