Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health released data that showed that in June, of the COVID specimens sequenced, 36% of COVID tests were the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. That’s up from less than 6% of analyzed specimens in May.
In Los Angeles County, Delta is growing particularly fast — in May, the county was seeing fewer than 20 Delta cases per week, but by July that number had more than tripled to 245 identified cases. Nationally, Delta is now the predominant strain of COVID-19 (making up over 51% of cases). And while California is lower than other states (some have 80% of cases from Delta), California’s increase is alarming because of Delta’s increased transmissibility.
For hospitals, this means that despite nearly 60% of California’s population being fully vaccinated and more than 70% of the population having received at least one dose, there is a very real chance of resurgence.
Already, hospital admissions for COVID-19 are ticking up. In mid-June, hospitalizations dropped to just over 900, but that number has increased by 15% since then. In Los Angeles County, the increase was more dramatic — a 26% jump since mid-June.
At this time, it’s vital to continue to press the message about the importance of vaccination, that being vaccinated means you are not only protecting yourself, but also reducing the likelihood of prolonging the spread of the disease, which provides longer incubation periods for even more variants.
CHA is also in regular contact with the state’s top health officials, including Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, to ensure that the lines of communication are fully open should the need arise for emergency measures.
For now, we’ll continue to keep close watch on the data trends, and we encourage all of you to share what you’re seeing with us, so we can, in turn, keep the state apprised of what’s going on at the ground level.