Despite Low COVID-19 Transmission in Los Angeles County, Data Reflects Ongoing Inequities in Health Outcomes

Communities of Higher Poverty, People of Color Face Disproportionate Impacts of Virus

Although overall COVID-19 transmission remains low in Los Angeles County, local data reveals the continued disproportionate impact of the disease, primarily in communities with higher poverty and among people of color, highlighting the need for targeted COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies that can address the gaps.

This disproportionality in case, hospitalization, and death rates, which are highest in neighborhoods with greater poverty and among Black and Brown residents, is the likely result of increased exposures to the COVID-19 virus, less access to the resources needed for good health, overcrowding, often combined with poor ventilation, in homes and at worksites, and differences in health status.

In areas of Los Angeles County where more than 30% of households live at or below the federal poverty line, COVID-19 hospitalization rates are nearly two-and-a-half times greater than in neighborhoods with less than 10% of households living in poverty and death rates are nearly three times higher comparatively in these same areas.

COVID-19 cumulative hospitalization rates among Black and Latinx residents in Los Angeles County are two times as high as among white residents. Deaths rates due to COVID-19 are nearly two-and-a-half times higher for Latinx residents and one-and-a-half times higher for Black residents compared to white residents.

To reduce the adverse health outcomes associated with COVID-19, Public Health and community partners can focus preparedness and mitigation efforts that ensure access to life-saving tools and improve the conditions in places where we work, learn or live.

It is important for residents to continue to utilize the COVID-19 resources available, including the bivalent vaccine, testing and treatment. However, investments in community-level infection control, including compliance with outbreak reporting and changes to work and learning environments, also reduce spread and impact of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Increasing indoor air movement can help reduce the spread of disease. Those in charge of worksites, schools, and residential buildings should aim for a ventilation system that results in a total changeover of air at least five times an hour and use filters with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13, according to recent updated recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Details and resources can be found in the ‘ventilation’ section of

Simple actions can also help to improve ventilation, including opening windows when the weather allows, using fans, and adjusting settings on home heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems so that air does not recirculate.

As part of long-standing efforts to reduce risks associated with infectious diseases, including the transmission of COVID-19 in the community, Public Health continues to require businesses and facilities to report clusters of COVID-19 cases to Public Health. This serves as a vital alert that allows for early and effective intervention by Public Health outbreak investigators, reducing disruptions and transmission at sites.

In workplaces, educational settings, and residential congregate settings, such as shelters and correctional facilities, Public Health must be notified of all clusters of at least three linked cases occurring within 14 days. For workplaces and residential congregate settings with over 100 workers or residents, facilities must also report if 5% of workers or residents test positive, even if those cases are unlinked. All reporting must take place within 24 hours of when a facility knows that their cases have met Public Health’s reporting threshold. Case clusters can be reported to Public Health at 1-888-397-3993 or online at

“To those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, I offer my sincere condolences. May your memories help ease your pain and bring you comfort,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “While COVID remains a complex public health problem that requires us to be attentive and prepared, I do have a lot of optimism about the future.  We know so much more than we did three years ago and we should all feel empowered to take simple actions to keep COVID transmission low. The pandemic highlighted the reality of health inequities in our community and identified critical activities we can do to safeguard those who are most impacted by the COVID-19, whether by race, age, or neighborhood. I regularly hear from individuals who are struggling with Long COVID or living with chronic health conditions that create significant risk about their need for continued support.  Now that we have entered a new phase of significantly lower danger associated with COVID for many, I hope we aren’t too fatigued to continue to take advantage of available resources and practices that acknowledge the needs of those more vulnerable.  We remain reliant on collective actions to ensure collective well-being.”

The most recent sequencing data shows XBB.1.5 remains the dominant strain in Los Angeles County, accounting for 78% of sequenced specimens for the two week period ending April 29, 2023. The second most dominant strains were XBB.1.9.1, XBB.1.16, and XBB.2.3, each accounting for 4% of sequenced specimens. Data modeling from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as of May 13 in California and surrounding states, XBB.1.5 remains the dominant strain while XBB.1.16 makes up 12% and XBB.1.9.1 accounts for about 10% of cases.

The CDC has replaced COVID-19 Community Levels with Hospital Admission Levels, which can help individuals and communities decide which prevention actions they can take based on the most recent information. Los Angeles County is in the Low Hospital Admission Level with 2.6 New COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people.

The 7-day average number of COVID hospitalizations is 190 this week. Reported weekly deaths increased to 35 deaths reported this week.  As of Tuesday, May 16, there have been a total of 36,338 deaths in Los Angeles County.

Vaccines remain one of the best tools individuals can use to protect themselves from severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Vaccines remain free and easily accessible in Los Angeles County at more than 1,200 sites; more than half of these sites are in areas most impacted by COVID-19. 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 or (en español) to find a vaccination location near them.

For residents who have difficulties leaving their home, Public Health offers free in-home COVID-19 vaccine and booster appointments. Appointments may be booked at, or (en español) or by calling the Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at 1-833-540-0473.Public Health’s Call Center also connects eligible residents to free telehealth to get COVID-19 medications, information, and other resources. Residents are encouraged to call 1-833-540-0473, available daily between 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., to access these services.

Public Health reports COVID-19 data weekly. The following table shows case, wastewater, emergency department, hospitalization, and death data in Los Angeles County over the past four weeks.


Date of Weekly Report





Weekly cases reported1,2





SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration as a percentage of the Winter 2022-2023 peak concentration value3





7-day average of the percent of emergency department (ED) encounters classified as coronavirus-related3,4





7-day average number of COVID-positive hospitalizations3,4





Weekly deaths reported2





1) 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.

2) Weekly case and death counts represent the number of cases and deaths reported for the week ending each Tuesday. The date a case/death is reported by DPH is not the same as the date of testing or death.

3) Time periods covered by each metric: wastewater = week ending each Saturday, with a one-week lag; ED data = week ending each Sunday; hospitalizations = week ending each Sunday.

4) Data for past weeks is subject to change in future reports.

*Due to a reporting transition at the state level and subsequent underreporting from hospitals, this value is an undercount. Efforts are actively underway to address the underreporting.

A wide range of data and dashboards on COVID-19 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are available on the Public Health website at including:

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

Cases through 12:00pm 5/22/2023


Total Cases

Laboratory Confirmed Cases


— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)


— Long Beach


— Pasadena




— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)


— Long Beach


— Pasadena


Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

– 0 to 4


– 5 to 11


– 12 to 17


– 18 to 29


– 30 to 49


– 50 to 64


– 65 to 79


–  over 80


–  Under Investigation


Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Female


–  Male


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Hospitalization (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Hospitalized (Ever)


Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation