After nearly three months of quickly and then gradually declining COVID-19 numbers, case rates in Los Angeles County are slowly going up again.
On March 31, there was a seven-day average of 687 new cases. Then, numbers began to rise due to the emergence of the easily transmitted BA.2 subvariant. The following week the seven-day average of new cases rose to 835.
On Wednesday, the average climbed to 999. That’s a 19.6% increase from last week.
Weekly COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, March 9-April 12
The changing landscape is producing another round of warnings, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health advising residents to take additional safety precautions as people gather to celebrate Ramadan, Passover and Easter.
There are also concerns that huge events such as the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals could lead to an increase in cases.
The Crosstown COVID Tracker helps you stay up to date on the latest and most important data on infections, inoculations and general risk. Information on cases in individual communities is available on the Crosstown coronavirus interactive map.
No strain on the healthcare system
Even with worries about BA.2, it seems that everywhere one looks, more businesses are opening and more masks are coming off. Part of that may be because there is now little strain on the healthcare system; the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive patients has fallen to levels not seen since last summer.
Hospitalizations have remained below 300 since April 1. On Wednesday, there were 256 coronavirus patients being treated in area medical institutions.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County, Jan. 1-April 12
How long this continues to be the situation is uncertain. While hospitalizations are falling in Los Angeles County, major metropolitan areas including New York City have begun to see a slight rise in patients admitted. Philadelphia this week became the first large U.S. city to reinstate an indoor mask mandate, following an increase in cases.
Deaths also remain relatively low, though as with hospitalizations, they are expected to tick up in future weeks as overall case numbers rise.
On Wednesday, there were 11 COVID-19 fatalities reported in Los Angeles County, bringing the seven-day average of deaths to 13. One week ago it was 17.
The positivity rate has also stopped declining, though it usually remains in the vicinity of 1%. On Wednesday, the positivity rate stood at 1.3%.
The Los Angeles Unified School District continues to record few infections as it tests students and staff weekly. From April 6-12, the LAUSD reported 493 positive test results out of the 221,964 tests administered (the number of tests recorded is lower than usual as schools are closed this week for spring break). The positivity rate stands at 0.22%.
For the week ending March 25, unvaccinated Los Angeles County residents were five times more likely to be hospitalized than those who had received a full vaccine course. Unvaccinated residents were eight times more likely to die from the virus than their protected counterparts, according to the Department of Public Health.
Low death and hospitalization numbers are tempered by the fact that many Angelenos still refuse to be vaccinated, and a majority of county inhabitants have not been boosted.
Out of the nearly 9.7 million vaccine-eligible residents 5 and up, only 3.78 million have received their extra dose.
Approximately 18,299,109 shots have been administered in Los Angeles County. One year ago, the total number of vaccinations stood at 6,066,166.
Through April 7, 83.2% of county residents 5 and up had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Nearly 75% are fully vaccinated.
How we did it: We analyzed coronavirus data related to new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, as well as data from the Los Angeles Unified School District.