LOS ANGELES, CA – The daily number of reported COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has jumped again, with more than 3,200 new infections recorded, as health officials again warn of the impact disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on black and Latino/a residents.
The county reported 3,270 new infections on Friday, bringing the county’s overall total from throughout the pandemic to 2,888,408. Six more virus-related deaths were also reported, bringing the death toll to 31,991.
According to state figures, there were 239 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals on Friday, up from 244 on Thursday. Of these patients, 36 were being treated in intensive care, up from 37 a day earlier.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.3% on Friday, about the same as Thursday.
The county’s public health department warned Friday that throughout the pandemic, black and Latino/a residents have faced a higher impact in terms of infections and deaths than white and Asian residents. Low-income areas have also been hit harder.
The discrepancies point to long-standing differences in the level of care and access to care, officials said.
Health officials noted that in the four COVID surges the county has faced, black and brown residents have had case rates between two and four times higher than white residents. Hospitalization rates were three to four times higher during the recent winter surge, and death rates were two to three times higher during the same period.
Even COVID vaccinations have not completely corrected the gaps between wealthy and low-income areas. According to the county, fully vaccinated residents in high-poverty areas were still twice as likely to become infected and end up hospitalized than fully vaccinated residents in wealthier communities.
Unvaccinated residents of high-poverty areas, meanwhile, are 12 times more likely to die from the virus than unvaccinated residents of wealthier areas.
County officials attributed the differences to factors such as the frequency of exposures, general community conditions and the general health status of residents in the different areas.
“As LA County continues in this different phase of the pandemic, the public health focus has not changed, and we will work with partners to reduce serious illness and death from COVID-19,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “It is simply not appropriate to tolerate a disproportionality that leads to higher rates of illness, death and long-term disability among some residents and workers when there are collective prevention strategies that can mitigate the spread and serious diseases.”
city news service