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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Delta surge results in 40 new cases weekly in Claremont

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Los Angeles County is experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections—in the past four weeks, cases have increased twenty-fold, from just 124 on June 21 to an average of more than 3,000 cases last week.

On Wednesday public heath reported 3,734 new cases, the highest in a single day since February 2. Also the test positivity rate hit 6.2 percent this week after reaching a low of 0.7 just over one month ago.

“The delta variant is currently the dominant strain in Los Angeles County, representing 96 percent of the specimens collected for sequencing between July 18 and 24. This is consistent with the rise of delta nationwide, as just two weeks ago, the CDC estimated that delta strains accounted for 83 percent of COVID-19 cases,” according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The combination of the highly contagious delta variant and a large number of people who remain unvaccinated is driving the surge. However, the county has also reported that “breakthrough” infections, cases in which fully vaccinated people test positive, are on the rise as well. The good news for those who are inoculated against the coronavirus: the vaccine is very effective at reducing the severity of the disease.

“The evidence continues to show that vaccination offers the most protection from COVID and the variants of the virus. Each of the vaccines has been thoroughly tested and continues to undergo intense safety monitoring. All three vaccines being administered in L.A. County are highly effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” public heath officials said in a statement.

The surge in new cases has apparently motivated some fence sitters as the state has seen a significant increase in new vaccinations over the past two weeks. From July 24 to 31, an average of 44,000 California residents received the first shot of the vaccine up from 37,300 the week before, according to the Los Angeles Times. The average a week before that was 31,100.

Across the state 61.7 percent of Californians have received at least one dose, however, L.A County is doing much better. Countywide 71.7 percent of people over the age of 16, and 88.9 percent of seniors 65 and older are now vaccinated, according to L.A. County Public Health. This statistic is critical because the most vulnerable populations here are well protected against the current surge, making it extremely unlikely that we will see the overflowing emergency rooms and high death rates of the winter surge.

However, people are getting sick and hospitals have seen a significant increase of COVID-19 cases, including 1,242 people currently hospitalized, 22 percent of whom are in ICU. Tragically, 16 people have died including one child.

“Sadly, Public Health has confirmed one of today’s reported COVID-19 deaths is a young person under the age of 12. The child who passed away was hospitalized with COVID-19 and had underlying conditions,” officials said in a statement.

Here in Claremont cumulative cases were 2,365 two weeks ago and are now 2,447, an increase of 14 percent or 82 new infections. Fortunately, no new deaths have been reported in Claremont.

The vaccination rate in Claremont for people over the age of 16, has ticked up slightly from 64 percent two weeks ago to 65 percent as of July 30. However, our youth have really come through for the community with 76.7 percent of residents 12 to 18 receiving at least oe dose. This is despite the fact the inoculation was not available to people under 18 until mid spring. About 92 percent of Claremonters over the age of 65 are inoculated.

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