LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County has been averaging about 2,300 new COVID-19 cases per day in the last week, a sharp spike that is triggering more vaccine outreach efforts to underserved communities.
Los Angeles County has seen more than 16,100 cases in the last seven days, an average of about 2,300 per day. That matches levels that hadn't been seen since the tail end of the post-holiday surge in February.
Health officials are trying to convince communities that have the lowest vaccination rates to get their shots, via a series of community events and giveaways.
In Leimert Park for example, only about 58% of residents over age 16 have been vaccinated, lagging state and national averages. On Saturday, a community event was held offering incentives such as $25 gift cards for those who get vaccinated.
"Yes, we can do things we didn't imagine a year ago," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "But this battle is not over. And we need each one of you to help us get there. You're either going to get the vaccine or you're going to get COVID."
"And we know only one of those things can kill you."
Young Black and Latino residents continue to have the lowest rates of vaccination in the county. Black residents also had the highest rate of new infections over the last month, at 181 per 100,000 residents. Latino/a residents have traditionally had one of the highest infections rates throughout the pandemic, but over the past month, white residents accrued a higher rate, at 83 per 100,000 residents. Latinos had an infection rate of 62 per 100,000 residents.
Black residents also had the highest rate of hospitalizations over the month, followed by Latinos and whites.
Since the state of California lifted capacity restrictions on businesses and masking requirements on June 15, the region has seen a steady increase in cases, even as rates of vaccination continue to slow. Earlier this month Los Angeles County reinstated requirements to wear mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to help slow the spread once again.
There were 716 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Sunday, up from 528 just six days earlier. The county has seen 1.26 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and more than 24,000 deaths.
The latest spike has been blamed on the Delta variant of the virus, seen as far more contagious and dangerous than earlier variants. It is spreading across the country after public health agencies had started relaxing masking and social distancing protocols when vaccination rates were increasing in May and June.
City News Service contributed to this report.