The surge in Los Angeles County COVID-19 cases showed no signs of declining over the weekend.
Nearly 1,100 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Sunday, and the count of new infections topped 3,000 for four days in a row. Hospitalizations and case numbers have seen a steady increase, according to the county.
The true number of new cases could be higher than the 3,045 cases reported due to weekend reporting lags.
After weeks of waning interest in vaccinations, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday demand for first-dose shots has slowly gone up.
Professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Dr. Anne Rimoin told KNX the uptick in vaccinations is very encouraging, but she said even more people need to understand the dangers of not getting vaccinated as the Delta variant of the virus keeps spreading.
“You are at much greater risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death [if you are unvaccinated],” said Rimoin.
"If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet and it’s because you’ve still been weighing the risk-benefit, now is the time to go get vaccinated. And that’s what a lot of people are doing right now.”
Rimoin also said she is not surprised to see the jump in new COVID-19 cases in L.A. County.
“I think that it is clear we are still moving in the wrong direction," she said.
"We have a lot of cases. We have a lot of unvaccinated individuals who are at great risk for hospitalization and death, and we’re beginning to see this reflected in our numbers.”
L.A. County reinstituted its order that masks be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status on July 17 in an attempt to curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. The state went even further when officials announced last Monday that California state employees and health care workers will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or submit to weekly testing.
Some experts applauded the move.
"I think it’s about time," said USC virologist Paula Cannon.
Cannon said efforts to improve vaccine access and incentives weren’t encouraging enough people to get their vaccinations.
Health officials have warned that the Delta variant can be spread as easily as the common cold or chickenpox.