Second case of COVID-19 variant reported in LA County
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed the second case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom (U.K.). The specimen, submitted by a clinical facility, was sequenced as part of routine surveillance by the Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory. Public Health announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 on January 16.
Today, Public Health has confirmed 316 new deaths and 6,918 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. To date, Public Health has identified 1,111,089 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 16,647 deaths.
Public Health believes the B.1.1.7 and other variants are already spreading in the county, and Public Health is continuing to test samples.
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
Presence of the B.1.1.7 variant in Los Angeles County means virus transmission can happen more easily, and residents and businesses must more diligently implement and follow all of the personal protective actions and safety measures put in place to prevent additional cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. This includes wearing a face covering properly over your nose and mouth, physically distancing, and not gathering with people from outside your household. With community transmission still at a very high level, staying home as much as possible is the best protection. These strategies will only be effective in slowing the spread of any variant strain of COVID-19 if they are used by everyone all of the time.
Four additional cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) are also being reported by Public Health. This brings the total cases of MIS-C in L.A. County to 66 children including one child death. All 66 children with MIS-C in L.A. County were hospitalized and 44% of the children were treated in the ICU. Of the children with MIS-C, 32% were under the age of 5 years old, 38% were between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, and 30% were between the ages of 12 and 20 years old. Latino/Latinx children account for nearly 74% of the reported cases.
MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19, and symptoms include fever that does not go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. If you believe your child is displaying MIS-C symptoms, contact your primary care or an urgent care provider. Seek emergency care for critical or life-threatening conditions. If you do not have a primary care provider, dial 2-1-1 and L.A. County will help connect you to one.
“There is deep sorrow, sadness, and loss in our County as a result of COVID-19. To everyone mourning the loss of a loved one, we wish you great comfort and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Although some restrictions were just lifted in our County, we are still in a very dangerous period in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. We all want our businesses currently operating to remain open and more to reopen safely in the future. Our case rates must continue to come down. One way to do that is for everyone to follow all of the public health recommendations and directives all of the time. Because some sectors have re-opened, it doesn’t mean that the risk for community transmission has gone away; it hasn’t, and each of us needs to make very careful choices about what we do and how we do it. This virus is strong, and we are now concerned about variants and what these will mean in our region."
Of the 316 new deaths reported today, 81 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 119 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 73 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, 20 people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29 and one case is under investigation. Fourteen deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and seven deaths were reported by City of Pasadena.
Testing results are available for more than 5,483,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today's daily test positivity rate is 9.9%, down 15 percent compared to last Saturday. There are 5,669 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, and 26% of these people are in the ICU.
Currently, more than 790,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the County. People eligible for vaccine include frontline healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and County residents age 65 and older. Together, these groups total more than 2 million people eligible for the vaccine, who each need two doses.
The County receives, on average, 150,000 vaccine doses per week. Public Health has built an extensive network with pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, health clinics, and community vaccination sites, including six large capacity sites, some managed by the City of LA and some by the County, to ensure that, as more vaccine is available, more people can be vaccinated across the County.
Public Health's www.VaccinateLACounty.com connects residents eligible for vaccinations to appointment registration links at various sites. The site has incorporated the State's new appointment registration platform, MyTurn, which now allows residents to book their first and second dose appointments at the same time. Residents with internet access and a computer are urged to use www.VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up as appointments become available. For those without access to a computer or the internet or with disabilities, a call center is open to help schedule appointments at 833-540-0473, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Individuals are encouraged to use the website whenever possible to sign up for an appointment to avoid long wait times on the phone.
Public Health is prioritizing all persons getting their 2nd dose, and most individuals will be able to receive their second dose at the same site where they received their first dose. For persons who have already received their first dose and are not sure how to get their second dose, the www.VaccinateLACounty.com website provides specific information on how this will be handled, based on where you received your first dose. Many individuals vaccinated at a county site already received the date and location of their second dose appointment on their vaccination card, which will be 21 days after their first dose if they received a Pfizer vaccine and 28 days after their first dose if they received a Moderna vaccine. All residents will need to do is use the personal appointment link that’s being emailed to them to confirm the time that works for them, and then they’ll be all set. The emails have begun to go out. The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.