LOS ANGELES, CA — Coronavirus hospitalizations topped 1,000 for the first time in months in Los Angeles County Tuesday. It’s a 30 percent jump over last week and a trend expected to continue in the coming days as hospitalizations catch up with skyrocketing cases.
Meanwhile, the nation set a new record for the most cases confirmed in a single day thanks to the Delta and Omicron variants. Over the last two weeks, daily coronavirus cases have more than doubled nationwide.
The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Los Angeles County. The seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 14.5 percent as of Tuesday — up from 3 percent a week ago. According to state figures, there were 1,069 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Tuesday, up from 966 on Monday. Of those patients, 207 were being treated in intensive care, up from 200 a day earlier.
The increase is being closely watched by public health officials concerned that hospitals — which expanded capacity to handle COVID patient numbers that topped 8,000 last January — are less equipped to cope with such an intense surge this winter due to various factors, most notably a drop in staffing.
The sudden rapid spread of the virus is being blamed squarely on the Omicron variant of the virus, which experts say is easily spread from person to person. Even people fully vaccinated are susceptible to Omicron infection, although health officials say they are far less likely to become severely ill, wind up hospitalized or die. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week unvaccinated people are 21 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.
On Tuesday, the county reported another 9,473 new COVID infections, bringing the cumulative pandemic total number of infections to 1,632,893.
Another 22 virus-related deaths were also reported, raising the county’s death toll to 27,576.
Officials have said about 90% of the COVID deaths during the pandemic occurred in people who had underlying health conditions. The most common conditions are hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
“… While we all wish that 2022 would begin without the continued tragedy of serious illness and death associated with COVID, we are instead facing the prospect of an alarming surge that requires every person to act with intentionality: get vaccinated and boosted, get tested, and please, always wear a mask around others,” Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday. “These are the tools we have to try to keep each other safe over the holidays.”
Ferrer said last week the county was not immediately contemplating any renewed health restrictions in response to the latest virus surge, although she said everything remains on the table depending on the trajectory of the infections and the more critical impact on the hospital system.
The health department announced Friday that it was expanding access to free COVID testing amid greater demand around the holidays.
The changes include:
— Extended hours of operation at sites across Los Angeles County;
— Additional week and weekend dates;
— Additional mobile testing units in hard-hit areas;
— Re-launch of Holiday Home Test Collection Program with new guidelines to reach more people and make it easier to get tested. The link is at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/hometest.
Any county resident who is symptomatic or believes they were exposed to COVID-19 can order a home testing kit, which require swab collection to be mailed back for PCR test result.
Source: COVID-19 Hospitalizations In LA Up 30% In A Week (yahoo.com)