Transmission of COVID-19 among children in Los Angeles County has declined significantly over the past three weeks, even with nearly all of the county’s 1.5 million K-12 students now back at school for in-person instruction, public health officials said Thursday.
After noting an increase in cases among children in mid-July and into mid-August, “over the last three weeks, cases declined in all children age groups by 40%,” according to a statement issued by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
“The current case rate for 12 to 17-year olds is 132 new cases per 100,000 teens; for 5 to 11 year-olds the case rate is now 141 new cases per 100,000 children; and for children 0 to 4, the case rate is 88 per 100,000 children,” the statement said.
County health officials hoped to further the progress through increased vaccination of those over the minimum eligible age of 12.
As of Sunday, 63% of L.A. County youths between 12 and 15 had received at least one dose of vaccine, while 53% were fully vaccinated, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. For teens ages 16 and 17, 70% had received a single dose and 61% were fully vaccinated.
“Safety at schools is amplified many-fold when vaccination coverage is very high, as widespread vaccination dramatically reduces transmission at schools, after school activities, community events and at home,” county Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said. “Vaccinated teens are about eight times less likely to get infected than unvaccinated teens. Vaccinating teens protects the teens themselves and also protects the friends and family members with whom they share so much of their out-of-school time.
“Vaccinating teens also has the advantage of protecting younger children at school with whom they come in contact and who cannot be vaccinated. And because vaccinating teens also reduces transmission at school, it decreases the likelihood of outbreaks causing disruptions in learning,” Ferrer said. “One major advantage of being vaccinated is that fully vaccinated students are more likely to stay in school after an exposure. That’s because our quarantine guidance currently exempts asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals from quarantine. Along with our school partners, we’re working hard to ensure it’s easy for teens to get vaccinated.”
The county announced 2,023 new infections and 28 deaths on Friday, bringing the pandemic totals to 1,439,011 COVID-19 cases and 25,775 deaths.
Authorities listed 1,185 patients hospitalized throughout the county with the virus, with 30% of them in ICUs.
L.A. County’s test positivity rate on Thursday was recorded at 1.6%
Pasadena saw 17 newly detected COVID-19 infections and no deaths on Thursday, according to city data.
In all, the Pasadena Public Health Department has recorded 13,018 cases of the virus and 359 deaths.
The city’s average number of daily infections over the prior week dropped for a fourth straight day, reaching 15.6.
Huntington Hospital officials listed 25 admitted COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with eight of them being treated in intensive care units.
The California Department of Public Health reported 7,360 new infections and 16 deaths on Thursday, bringing the statewide totals to 4,387,926 COVID-19 cases and 67,187 fatalities.
The state’s weekly positivity rate declined by a tenth of a percent to 3.4%, according to CDPH data.
As of Thursday, L.A. County accounted for 33% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 38% of the state’s deaths.