Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn visited the Commerce Senior Center Wednesday to make a personal appeal for residents to get COVID-19 booster shots, noting the nationwide spread of the BA.2 subvariant of the virus that has led to rising case numbers.
“We know the vaccines work, but their effectiveness wanes over time,” Hahn said. “If you did the right thing and got vaccinated last year, you protected yourself during the last surge. But we know that your immunity is not as high anymore. You need to look out for yourself, especially if you’re a senior like me … or if you have health challenges.
“We are most at risk for getting seriously ill or dying from COVID- 19,” she said. “Things are getting more dangerous again. We in LA County are keeping our eye on the other cities in this country. The (BA.2) variant is here. … We are monitoring the situation, but already we’re seeing cities like Philadelphia being forced to reinstate their mask mandates as their case counts rise. Everybody needs to get ready and protect themselves by getting boosted.”
Second booster shots are now available for all residents aged 50 and over, and for younger residents with underlying health conditions.
Hahn noted that she received her second booster last week, and said her office will be sponsoring mobile vaccination clinics throughout southeastern Los Angeles County in the coming weeks to make the shots more accessible to residents.
“Don’t wait, get boosted,” she said.
Her comments echoed a statement issued Wednesday by California Public Health Director Dr. Tomás Aragón, who also noted that BA.2 is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the state.
“While COVID-19 hospitalization rates are near an all-time low, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 transmission in some parts of the state,” Aragón said. “This underscores the need for Californians to remain vigilant and protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against COVID-19, including this variant. This is why the FDA has authorized a second booster dose for those in our most vulnerable categories, including people aged 50 and older. Getting this additional booster is the best way to maintain your protection against COVID-19 and its variants.”
Los Angeles County health officials have noted that while daily case numbers have been rising, hospitalizations and deaths are still low.
On Wednesday, state figures showed 256 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, down from 270 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 35 were being treated in intensive care units, down slightly from 36 a day earlier.
The county reported another 973 infections on Wednesday, raising the cumulative pandemic total to 2,848,030. Another 11 deaths were also reported, lifting the virus-related death toll to 31,830.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus ticked upward to 1.3% as of Wednesday, up from the roughly 1% rate of the past week.
According to the county Department of Public Health, the countywide increase in infections is also being reflected at schools, where tests of students and staff had a positivity rate of 0.19% for the week ending April 8. The 822 positive tests recorded that week represented a 42% increase from the prior week, according to the county.