Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

COVID-19 Update: Delta Variant Sparks Uptick in Cases, Advice to Wear Masks Indoors

Local health officials are now recommending that all people – vaccinated or not – return to wearing masks for indoor activities in public spaces. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)


For the second week in a row, new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Los Angeles, sparked largely by the spread of the new, more virulent Delta strain of the virus.  New cases in LA County are now running from 239 to 366 cases per day, up from numbers between 108 and 285 new cases per day less than a month ago.


LA County COVID Cases, Deaths & Hospitalizations - June 23-29

DateNew CasesDeathsCurrent Hospitalizations


As reported last week, the vast majority of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are now among those who are unvaccinated.  To help protect that portion of the population, LA County Department of Public Health officials this week issued new advice that all residents, vaccinated or not, should go back to wearing masks in indoor spaces.  The advice is currently just that – a recommendation and not an official rule – but the message was clear.

According to a statement on Monday, June 28:

“With increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure. In the week ending June 12, Delta variants comprised of nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the country, up from approximately one in every 10 the week before.

Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status. Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits.”

The statement reiterated that “fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants,” but noted that in addition to those who remain unvaccinated, those who have received only one dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are “not as well-protected” and may also be at higher risks of infection.

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in the statement that, “While COVID-19 vaccine provides very effective protection preventing hospitalizations and deaths against the Delta variant, the strain is proving to be more transmissible and is expected to become more prevalent. Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission, especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”

As noted above, those who are fully vaccinated are far less vunerable to infection, even from the new Delta variant.  But vaccination rates have slowed considerably in recent weeks, and LA County – like the U.S. overall –  will likely fall at least a bit short of the national goal of at least 70% of residents at least partially vaccinated by July 4.  Currently, out of approximately 10 million residents in LA County, about 68% of the 8.3 million who are currently eligible for vaccines have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and only 59% are fully vaccinated.



The numbers in our local neighborhoods are simila, but locally, too, the rates have slowed significantly, and the percentages have crept up very slowly over the last few weeks. Currently, nine of the 23 neighborhoods we’ve been tracking have hit or exceeded the 70% target, another ten are hovering between 60 and 70%, and five are still below the 60% mark.



To help increase the number of residents who are vaccinated and less vulnerable to COVID-19 infections and serious consequences, the county is running a a new sweepstakes with incentives for those who receive a vaccination through Thursday, July 1:

“Through Thursday, July 1 at County-run vaccination sites, LA City sites, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center sites, everyone 18 and older coming to get a vaccine will have an opportunity to win one of two packages, each containing season passes to Six Flags, the LA Zoo, the Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits, and ticket packs to the California Science Center. Official rules and participating site locations are posted online on the Los Angeles Vaccination Sweepstakes page.”



All LA County residents ages 12 and up are eligible for vaccines, which are free and available regardless of immigration status. To find a vaccination site near you, see Free transportation – and even home visits – are available for those who need them.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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