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LA County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Nearly Quadruple In One Month

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Five deaths and 2,361 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Los Angeles County Monday, and the number of people hospitalized with the virus has nearly quadrupled in the last month.

The new infections brought the county's total from throughout the pandemic to 1,305,704. The additional five deaths raised the county's death toll of 24,690.

Kaiser Permanente announced Monday it will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its employees and physicians.

"The vaccines work. They are effective and we as a health care delivery system want to model for you what a fully vaccinated team looks like," said Dr. Nancy Gin of Kaiser Permanente. 

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County is 1,096, compared with 280 people who were hospitalized a month ago on July 2, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

At Osteria La Buca in Larchmont Monday evening, a security guard was enforcing a new policy of checking vaccination cards.   

"We're good with their policy. If it's going to keep everyone safe and it's going to limit the Delta Variant from spreading, then we're good," said Lestel Escorcia, a diner.

State figures for hospitalizations in the county are reported slightly differently and show 1,273 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, which was reported at 354 people on July 2.

State reports show that there are 264 people in Los Angeles County intensive care units, 20 more than Sunday.

The county has been experiencing sharp increases in daily case numbers, hospitalizations and test-positivity rates over the past several weeks, with the increases attributed to the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 6.2% as of Monday, down from the 6.3% rate reported Friday. By comparison, that percentage was 1.3% on July 2.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, 99.8% of the people who have died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

While the pace of vaccinations has slowed significantly, Ferrer said the county has now seen two consecutive weeks of small increases in the number of people receiving a first dose. Between July 19 and 25, about 70,000 doses were administered in the county, up about 7,500 from the previous week.

Of the county's 10.3 million residents, 60% have received at least one dose, and 52% are fully vaccinated. Roughly 1.3 million residents under age 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine.

There are 772 county sites offering vaccinations this week, including pharmacies, clinics, community sites and hospitals and 312 sites where mobile teams are offering vaccinations, which are concentrated in higher-need, harder-hit areas.

"Vaccinations are widely available throughout L.A. County and are free of charge to anyone, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status," Ferrer said.

"Many sites are open on weekends and have evening hours and government IDs and/or insurance are not needed. Because of the high rate of community transmission in L.A. County and across the nation, increasing vaccination rates is critically important to curtailing the Delta variant. It is never too late to get vaccinated and get protected."

Statewide cases also are increasing, largely among unvaccinated populations, health officials said. The vast majority of new cases in California are among the unvaccinated, with 600% higher case rates among the unvaccinated than for those who are vaccinated.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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