All COVID patients in LA County-run hospitals are unvaccinated, official says

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Saturday, July 17, 2021
Unvaccinated account for all COVID hospitalizations in LA County
Los Angeles County official Dr. Christina Ghaly says unvaccinated people now account for all COVID-19 hospitalizations at county-run hospitals.

As the Delta variant continues its rapid spread in Los Angeles County, Dr. Christina Ghaly says unvaccinated people now account for all COVID-19 hospitalizations at county-run hospitals.

"To date, we have not had a patient admitted to a DHS hospital who has been fully vaccinated with either the J&J, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine," Dr. Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said Tuesday. "Every single patient that we've admitted for COVID has been not yet fully vaccinated."

State and county data shows the highly contagious Delta variant is quickly spreading among those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus infection numbers in the county have been surging upward for nearly a week, topping 1,000 new cases for the fifth straight day Tuesday. The daily average for new cases has jumped nearly 500% over the past month.

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

On Monday, California reported 3,256 new COVID cases -- the highest one-day total since early March.

This jump in cases is a concern among doctors and officials who say the Delta variant is the biggest COVID threat to those who have not been inoculated.

"Over 99% of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths we are seeing are among unvaccinated individuals," Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County's director of public health, said in a statement Monday.

Numbers show the vaccines are working well against the Delta variant.

"At this point, this really is a preventable illness, a preventable infection, and the healthcare workers will continue doing everything they can to support the lives and health of the individuals that come in, but it's really been a very challenging year, and I think it's made all the more challenging because we see the suffering that these patients and their families are going through, and it's very preventable at this point in time," Dr. Ghaly said.

As a state, California's vaccination rate is better than the national average. As of Monday, 63% of Californians had received at least one dose, and 51% were fully vaccinated, compared with 56% of all Americans who have gotten at least one shot and 48% who are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Los Angeles County, 70% of residents 16 and older have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the county health department. Nationally, 68% of Americans 18 and older have gotten at least one dose.

ABC News contributed to this report.