Los Angeles County is reporting a 165 percent spike in coronavirus infections in a single week amid the rise of the highly contagious delta variant.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement that 839 new coronavirus infections had been reported as of Thursday. The daily average case rate is at 3.5 per 100,000 people, up from last week’s 1.74 cases per 100,000 people.
The agency said that the delta variant of the coronavirus first identified in India has become the most commonly sequenced variant in the county since the beginning of June, and now accounts for the majority of variants identified by labs, “consistent with what other parts of the U.S. are seeing."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the variant now makes up the majority of new cases in the United States, driving spikes in infections in several states.
Experts say that the best protection against the delta variant is vaccination.
The county said that slightly less than 4 million of its residents are still not vaccinated, while 4.6 million are fully vaccinated.
Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Public Health, said in a statement that vaccines remain “the most important tool we have to keep COVID-19 transmission and the incubation of variants low.”
“The most powerful way to protect those in hard-hit communities, many of whom are essential workers, is to close vaccination gaps,” Ferrer said.
As of Thursday, Los Angeles County has identified 1,254,354 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 24,525 deaths. There are currently 296 people hospitalized, of which 24 percent are in intensive care.