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Coronavirus spike hits alarming levels in LA with 10,000 cases a week as Delta variant spreads

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Covid-19 cases in Southern California‘s Los Angeles County have spiked to more than 10,000 cases a week – an outbreak not seen since March – as the Delta variant continues to pose a threat to those who have not been vaccinated. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the county saw more than 1,300 new positive cases and two deaths Monday. 

The spike in cases comes after the county had removed its indoor mask wearing mandate. 

Los Angeles County reinstated its indoor mask mandate on Sunday as the Delta variant has sent positivity rates surging

Los Angeles County reinstated its indoor mask mandate on Sunday as the Delta variant has sent positivity rates surging

Infections have spiked nationwide, driven primarily by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India

Infections have spiked nationwide, driven primarily by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India

The recommendations come just one month after California dropped its coronavirus restrictions. Above, shoppers in a Hollywood store on July 19

The recommendations come just one month after California dropped its coronavirus restrictions. Above, shoppers in a Hollywood store on July 19

The Los Angeles Times found that Los Angeles County recorded an average of 101 weekly cases for every 100,000 residents this past month. That means the county has a ‘high’ community transmission status, as defined by the Centers for Diease Control and Prevention. 

A region must hit 100 or more weekly cases per 100,000 residents to be labeled as so. 

So far, about one out of every eight people in the county has tested positive for the coronavirus.  

The mandate was reinstated on Sunday after a 700% increase in cases due to the Delta variant.  

The spread of the highly contagious strain, first identified in India, has pushed new infections up to 26,306 nationwide – an increase of 69.3 percent on a seven-day rolling average compared to one week earlier.

Nearly every state witnessed a rise in infections in the last week and CDC data shows the Delta variant is responsible for about 60 percent of those cases.

Daily case numbers and the 7-day rolling average continue to rise in the United States

Daily case numbers and the 7-day rolling average continue to rise in the United States

The U.S. continues to the lead the world in deaths from COVID-19

The U.S. continues to the lead the world in deaths from COVID-19

In California, cases involving the Delta variant made up 48.8% of all new cases recorded in the state in June, compared to just 6% in May.

The imposition of LA’s indoor mask mandate came as health officials from eight Bay Area counties also recommended that vaccinated and unvaccinated residents wear masks indoors.

They said their recommendation was made ‘out of an abundance of caution’ as an ‘added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents.’

Unvaccinated people are of particular risk to contracting the Delta variant, health experts say, as CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the current outbreak is becoming ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as most cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among people yet to take the shot while the nation’s vaccination rollout has stalled.

About 53% of LA County residents are fully vaccinated while 60% have received at least one jab, the LA Times reported. 

The case spike comes as the country's vaccination effort has stalled

The case spike comes as the country’s vaccination effort has stalled

More than 34.1 total cases have been recorded

More than 34.1 total cases have been recorded

Dr. Jerome Adams, the former U.S. surgeon general, urged the CDC in a tweet to hold up LA County’s mask policy as an example to stop telling people not to wear masks. 

“The emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it AND mask it in areas with [rising] cases and positivity—until we see numbers going back down again,” Adams wrote. 

‘The highly infectious Delta variant is now the predominant strain in Contra Costa County,’ said county health officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. ‘While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.’

Perhaps most concerning is the spread of cases despite high vaccination rates in the Bay Area.

In San Francisco, for instance, 83% of its residents over 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 76% of its population over 12 fully vaccinated.

Still, cases are on the rise, with a seven-day rolling average of 58 new cases recorded last week compared to a low of 10 in mid June.

‘The Delta variant is spreading quickly, and everyone should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,’ Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss told the San Francisco Chronicle.  

‘Unfortunately, even though we have very high rates of vaccination and the excellent protection that affords, we are still seeing our case rates rise,’ Santa Clara County Assistant Health Officer Dr. Sarah Rudman told CBS SF Bay Area.

She said the variant had become a particular problem among the county’s unvaccinated population, and that recommending everyone wear masks was to ensure the unvaccinated continue wearing masks.

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