Los Angeles, Jul 23 (IANS): Los Angeles County, the most populous in the US, reported Thursday 2,767 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, an alarming 80 per cent increase over the last week amid the Delta variant surge.
It was the highest daily number for Los Angeles since mid-February, and an over 20-fold increase from a month ago, when the county had reported only 124 new cases, Xinhua news agency.
The county has so far identified 1,276,137 confirmed cases, with 24,607 deaths.
The county's daily average case rate, with a seven-day lag, is now 12.9 cases per 100,000 people, an increase from last week's rate of 7.1 cases per 100,000, said the Department of Public Health.
Its test positivity rate is 5.2 per cent, up from 1.2 per cent on July 15, when physical distancing restrictions and capacity limits were lifted across all sectors.
Currently, 645 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised in the county and 22 per cent of them are in intensive care units, versus 406 treated in hospital last week, according to the Department.
Officials warned that the Delta variant may continue to spread across the county, considering around 4 million residents have yet to be vaccinated.
In June, fully vaccinated people represented 20 per cent of all diagnosed residents, while unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people accounted for 80 per cent of cases.
Official data showed that of the nearly 10.3 million county residents, including those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, 52 per cent are fully vaccinated and 59 per cent have received at least one dose.
"The Delta variant, because it is so much more infectious than any virus strain we have seen before, requires us to add additional layers of protection to slow transmission as we work to increase vaccination rates," Barbara Ferrer, the county's director of public health, said in the statement.
"While vaccinated people can be reassured about the protection the vaccine gives you from severe Covid-19 disease, we cannot yet reassure you that, given the proliferation of the Delta variant, the vaccine protects you from infecting another person," she added, noting that masks "will add an extra layer of protection to prevent the heartache that comes from transmitting the virus to others".