LA County Will Still Monitor Covid Transmission Trends And Severity
By Dolores Quintana
The Federal Covid Public Health Emergency officially ended on Thursday, May 11, and with the end of that declaration, Federal Covid reporting ended after 97 weeks. However, Los Angeles County Public Health has announced that they will still collect and monitor local Covid information and trends in an effort to continue to protect the vulnerable citizens of the county.
According to their press release, Los Angeles County Health intends to use “timely local data will be used to identify trends and provide appropriate guidance and resources, giving residents the tools to make informed decisions about personal and community risk when needed. Public Health will utilize the CDC’s hospital admission levels and guidance to inform Los Angeles County’s local public health response.
In alignment with CDC, Public Health views hospitalization data as an important metric to track the severity of illness and the healthcare system’s capacity. Because hospitalization data is a lagging indicator, meaning it may take a few weeks of increased transmission for the count of hospitalized patients to increase, Public Health will also monitor other measures that reflect transmission levels.”
Weekly reporting of COVID-19 case counts, wastewater levels, and the percentage of COVID-related emergency department visits will continue. They will also track the seven Early Alert Signals, which are the warning signs of a major increase in the severity and increases of transmission of Covid among the local population. Some of these indicators are increases in infections in nursing homes and among centers that render services to the unhoused.
Residents who want to observe the data can go to the Covid Response Plan website for Los Angeles County. LA County Health also stressed that vaccination is still one of the best tools to avoid Covid infection. Everyone ages six months and older should have at least one dose of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which provides substantial protection against newer Omicron strains. Residents can visit VaccinateLACounty.com or VacunateLosAngeles.com (en español) to find a vaccination location near them.
For the week ending 05/17/2023, these are the Covid totals for Los Angeles County:
Weekly cases reported: 2,323
SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration as a percentage of the Winter 2022-2023 peak concentration value: 10%
The 7-day average of the percent of Emergency Department (ED) encounters classified as coronavirus-related: 3%
The 7-day average number of COVID-positive hospitalizations: 222
Weekly deaths reported: 20
The report also notes that “Case counts are an underrepresentation of the true number of infections, largely due to home tests which are not reported to DPH. Despite this, the trend in reported case counts from week to week is still an indicator of overall trends in transmission. Due to a transition in data source necessitated by the end of the federal public health emergency, this value represents the average number of hospitalizations for the 7-day period ending 5/14/23, rather than 5/16/23.”