Los Angeles County health officials Thursday reported a slight uptick in COVID-19 infections and other virus-tracking metrics over the past week, prompting a reminder for residents to take sensible precautions against infection.
“Los Angeles County could be facing a small bump in cases in the coming weeks, which is not entirely unexpected looking at what is happening in other parts of the world, including cases rising in Japan,” LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “While it is too early to say anything definitively, the best course is to take advantage of the tools and knowledge we have gained to minimize the spread, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
“I am happy to see that our hospitalizations and deaths remain relatively low, and my hope is that with the protection of vaccines, the use of therapeutics, and our acquired immunity, that even if transmission does rise, we will not see the same increases in hospitalizations and deaths that we have in the past.”
The county reported 2,034 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, a 32% increase from 1,544 cases the previous week. The rate of people testing positive, meanwhile, rose to 7.5% as of July 15, up from 5.1% a month earlier, according to the Department of Public Health.
Those numbers are an undercount of actual virus activity, due to the prevalence of at-home tests, the results of which are not reported to the county.
To counter that information gap, health officials continue to monitor the levels of virus detected in local wastewater supplies. The county Department of Public Health reported a slight increase in those levels over the past week.
Health officials urged people to take “simple precautions” to limit transmission of the virus, including getting tested if symptoms arise and following isolation rules if testing positive.
County health officials reminded residents that they should isolate for at least five days if they test positive, longer if they continue to show symptoms such as a fever. People who do leave isolation after five days should wear a mask when in public through day 10.
Medications are also available to lessen the virus’ effects, but they must be taken within days of the start of symptoms.