L.A. County’s coronavirus test positivity rate spikes nearly 700% in 1 month as delta variant circulates

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Los Angeles County’s coronavirus positivity rate has increased nearly 700% since last month as the delta variant circulates and vaccinations lag, officials said Tuesday.

The positivity rate stood at 0.5% a month ago. Now, it’s around 3.4%.

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed daily has also spiked, with L.A. County reporting more than 1,000 coronavirus cases every day for the past five days.

On June 13, the five-day case average was 201. By Tuesday, it had skyrocketed to 1,095 — an increase of more than 500% in just one month, L.A. County Department of Public Health officials said in a news release.

The increase, which comes after months of decline that followed the arrival of vaccines, mirrors upward trends seen nationwide.

“A significant number of unvaccinated people indoors, with a highly contagious Delta variant circulating, makes it easy for this variant to be transmitted at higher rates,” L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

She urged those who are are not yet fully vaccinated to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and get vaccinated without delay.

Coronavirus transmission in L.A. County has been increasing among younger unvaccinated residents, county officials said over the weekend.

Over 99% of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths being recorded recently are among unvaccinated residents, many of them under 50 years old, according to Ferrer.

“Because of increased intermingling and summer social activities and the circulation of more variants of concern like the highly transmissible Delta variant, Public Health continues to caution there is increased risk of COVID-19 infection for people who aren’t fully vaccinated,” the agency warned.

The delta variant, now California’s dominant coronavirus strain, was first detected in India but is now spreading in dozens of countries. In L.A. County, it is mostly being found in people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Why are officials alarmed? It is considered more contagious than even the other highly contagious variants reported.

The county has been pushing residents to get vaccinated by offering gift cards and the chance to win a variety of prizes.

At L.A. County- and city-run vaccination sites, everyone 18 and older coming to get a vaccine through Thursday could win one of seven packages of concert tickets, which include include tickets to see Celine Dion, Grupo Firme, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan and Dan and Shay at Staples Center, as well as box seats to four classical concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.

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