LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — For the fourth consecutive day, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported more than 1,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, health officials reported 1,059 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death, bringing countywide totals to 1,258,685 cases and 24,543 deaths. Officials also reported an increase in hospitalizations with 372 people hospitalized, up from 320 on Friday.
The increase in the number of COVID patients hospitalized has been felt at Providence hospitals in Southern California, which have seen their patient loads more than double in the past week.
One of those patients is Greg Datastanyan, who landed in the intensive care unit after getting COVID. He was not vaccinated.
"Mostly high fever, very weak," he said. "If I was vaccinated, I'm guessing either I wouldn't have get it or if I did get it, I'm guessing it'd be very, very less than what I went through."
And public health officials back up Datastanyan's thoughts about vaccination, with experts finding that vaccines offer good protection against COVID infection — including against the highly-contagious Delta variant.
"The vast majority of deaths are in unvaccinated individuals," Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at UCLA, said. "In fact, over 99% of the deaths are in unvaccinated individuals."
L.A. County's uptick comes in the wake of recently loosened restrictions and the relaxing of mask mandates. And, Rimoin believes, cases will continue to climb.
"The next couple of weeks, I think, we're going to continue to see increasing cases," she said.
However, she does not believe that the region will see the same surges previously experienced because L.A. County has a good base of vaccinated people — something Datastanyan wished he had done before getting sick.
"If you can have the vaccine and get at least 50% less than what I went through, I would encourage you to get it," he said.
Officials said they did not anticipate this recent surge to get as bad as the one experienced last winter before the vaccines were widely available, and neither L.A. County nor the state have suggested the need to impose new restrictions.
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