LA County seeing nearly 10 times as many COVID-19 cases as before California reopening

Denise Dador Image
Thursday, July 15, 2021
LA County seeing 10-fold spike in COVID cases since reopening
Los Angeles County reported almost 10 times as many COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as it did the day before California reopened.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's been a month since California's re-opening and doctors are seeing a troubling trend: A spike in cases - and experts fear it could get worse.

Los Angeles County reported 1,315 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. That's almost 10 times the number of cases the county saw exactly one month ago, one day before California's reopening: 135 cases.

It was the sixth consecutive day of the daily new cases exceeding 1,000.

"Community transmission of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has increased to a moderate level and may continue to increase unless everyone consistently and proactively takes steps to reduce their risk of infection and the spread of COVID-19," county officials said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition to more cases, the number of hospitalizations has also been increasing.

The medical director of the emergency department of Cedars-Sinai worries the spike could get worse.

"All of a sudden in the past couple weeks, we have seen a seven-fold increase in the number of people coming to the emergency room with COVID-related issues," said Dr. Sam Torbati.

In June, Torbati said his team went from barely seeing any cases to up to eight new cases a day. Eighty percent of them are adults between 20 and 40 years old.

"Right now we're seeing more young people infected because they're more active and proportionally less-vaccinated. They're not wearing face masks," he said. "They're not protected so they're going to get infected."

RELATED: Schools debate how to enforce mask rules when students return to campus

Los Angeles County reported another 1,103 positive coronavirus cases on Tuesday, an indicator that the trend lines are moving in the wrong direction.

As the Delta variant continues its rapid spread in Los Angeles County, new infections continue to increase at a rapid rate. Health officials report unvaccinated people account for all COVID-19 hospitalizations at county-run hospitals.

"Our experience at Cedars is that the vast majority of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated," Torbati said.

Doctors are seeing a few vaccinated individuals develop breakthrough infections, especially in those with compromised immune systems where the vaccine doesn't work as well.

"Those patients can't control that, but for the patients that can control it by getting a vaccine, that's where the opportunity is," Torbati said.

The latest data shows the vaccine is vastly protective against death from COVID-19.

To put it in perspective: as of July 6 less than a thousandth of a percent of those who died were among vaccinated people. Torbati believes this small spike will lead to larger ones and we need to keep telling people to get vaccinated.

"You keep at it and you keep at it. And you keep at it. Eventually it sinks in. We have to take care of each other. Be aware of each other's health and do everything we can to be part of each other's solutions," Torbati said.