Los Angeles County health officials on Saturday reported 4,229 new coronavirus cases and 21 related deaths as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread, noting that unvaccinated people are nearly four times more likely to get infected than those who are fully vaccinated.

Health data continue to show a widening gap in the coronavirus case rates between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, officials said. For example, vaccinated people are 14 times less likely to be hospitalized, with less than one hospitalization per 100,000 people.

“During this time of high transmission of a very infectious variant, I want to caution everyone to take precautions,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Common-sense precautions are warranted by everyone at this time, in part because fully vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant can transmit the virus to other people. Fully vaccinated people are encouraged to use caution in crowded and indoor settings, especially around unvaccinated people outside of their household.”

Health officials said the people most likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated are those with chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems.

“For these people, taking the extra step of layering a mask on top of vaccinations is particularly important,” the county Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Last month, L.A. County reimposed a rule requiring masking in indoor public spaces amid the surge of new infections fueled by the Delta variant. And this week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to direct city attorneys to draft a law that would require people to have at least one dose of a vaccine to visit indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shops and movie theaters. The full council must approve the proposed law before it can take effect.

More than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and nearly of 24,900 deaths have been identified in the county since the pandemic began. There are 1,627 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a quarter of them in intensive care.

Test results in the county show a 16% positivity rate, with an average of more than 3,000 cases per day for the last week.

Though vaccine coverage varies by region, unvaccinated residents are, on the whole, a shrinking minority in California. To date, 63% of Californians have gotten at least one dose, and nearly 55% have been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by The Times.





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