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LA County Reports 3,600 New COVID Cases As Vaccination Efforts Continue

BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA) — Only 45% of Black residents and 54% of Latinx residents living in Los Angeles County have been fully vaccinated, compared with 66% of white residents, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Hospitals In Southern California Continue To See Rise Of Covid-19 Cases
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Clinicians care for COVID-19 patients in the improvised COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills neighborhood on July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The COVID-19 unit has been set up again to attend to a rise in COVID patients in a section of the hospital normally used for other purposes. The hospital had just five COVID patients last week but now is treating more than 25 amid a rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations in Southern California as the Delta variant continues to spread. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

And on Friday, the county reported 3,606 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,297,032 positive cases and 24,676 deaths. The daily test positivity rate was 6.3%.

The latest data has healthcare workers serving communities of color working feverishly to increase vaccination rates at the Delta variant continues to spread across the Southland.

Dolores Armenta, who works at White Memorial in Boyle Heights, decided Friday to finally get vaccinated after seeing COVID cases increasing once again.

"It's the reality that I am living in right now," she said. "I feel for the people that have had it, or are not, you know, decided yet, because it was hard for me to decide as well."

But she said she feels relieved after getting the shot, a sentiment shared by 29-year-old Boyle Heights resident Ruben Chavez who also got his shot.

"Mentally, I feel better," he said.

White Memorial was one of the hardest hit hospitals in the county during the winter surge, but in the recent weeks saw the number of daily vaccine doses fall from a high of 4,000 to a low of 40.

"In the last week, we've seen it almost double again," Mara Bryant, operations executive at White Memorial, said. "So we were running about 40 a day last week, and we're running about 80 a day this week."

L.A. County also reported there were 991 COVID-positive patients admitted to local hospitals, 20% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

As for the COVID patients being treated, pediatrician Dr. Ernie Guzman said almost all that he has seen have been unvaccinated.

"What we know about the Delta variant is that it seems to be aiming at the people under 60, under 50," he said. "And I have seen very sick young children, my youngest was 3 weeks old."

He also said he has had five babies born in the last two weeks to mothers with COVID.

"Many moms I have spoken to in the last few days alone have said, 'Oh, well I have been waiting,' and I've told them, 'There's no more time to wait.'"

At Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook, infectious disease specialist Dr. Maita Kuvhenguhwa said the median age of COVID patients has fallen to 34 — many of whom are essential workers.

"Combining high-risk jobs where they're in the face of the public and lower vaccination rates is a recipe for a disaster," she said. "I've heard pretty much every type of excuse when it comes to why someone can't get a vaccination, but I do try my best to have a two-way conversation with my patients."

Those wanting to get vaccinated can do so on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights. There is no appointment necessary and all three vaccine options — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are offered.

For those looking for vaccine clinics closer to home, more information can be found online.

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