Los Angeles County still seeing high COVID rates, but fewer deaths, hospitalizations

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County is seeing a downward trend of hospitalizations from COVID-19, but overall transmission of the virus continues to be substantial.

More people are developing new infections than during last year's summer surge, but fewer are landing in the hospital and 32% fewer are dying.

"This pattern of more infections but less severe and fatal illness is likely due to the highly infectious delta variant, and the ability of vaccines to blunt serious illness and death," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county health director.

Meantime, the clock is ticking down on vaccination deadlines for many local government workers.

All Los Angeles County employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Friday, Oct. 1.

Los Angeles Unified School District employees - including teachers - have until Oct. 15 to be fully vaccinated.

And all Los Angeles city workers will need to show proof of full vaccination by Oct. 19.

All of the government mandates come with medical and religious exemptions.

Nationally - pilot unions for American and Southwest are asking the White House for exemptions to the federal* vaccine mandate, warning of travel chaos during the holidays.

"We want to make sure there are pilots on the flight deck this holiday season when this mandate kicks in," said Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and union official.

The CDC is issuing an urgent plea for pregnant women to get vaccinated.

Expectant mothers are twice as likely to end up in the intensive-care unit and and 70% more likely to die from COVID-19.

But there is good news: For the first time since June, national deaths from COVID are expected to decrease over the next month.

Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.