Los Angeles County Surpasses More Than 2 Million Total Cases; Hospitalizations Continue Rise Amid Om

Today, Public Health reports another grim milestone as Los Angeles County has now confirmed more than 2 million total cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The current surge of COVID-19 infections also continues to drive up hospitalizations, as today the number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has topped 3,400, the highest level since February 11th, 2021.

The good news is that while hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID but, are identified with COVID when tested for COVID upon hospital admission. These are referred to as incidental COVID hospitalizations. For the week ending December 26th, an estimated 55% of COVID-positive hospitalized patients fell into this category of incidental COVID hospitalizations.

Currently 14% of the COVID-positive hospitalized patients are in the ICU, and 7% are on a ventilator. Additionally, 23% of ICU beds are currently being occupied by COVID-positive cases, an increase of 9% from last week. Between December 15th and December 28th, the ICU admission rate for unvaccinated individuals was 21 times higher than the rate among fully vaccinated individuals.

The proportion of hospitalizations among children has not changed from the prior week. The 7-day average proportion of the new admissions among children under 18 years old remains at 4.1%; this is the same proportion as the week prior. The vast majority of the 38 children admitted to the hospital between December 7th and December 28th were unvaccinated; only 6 children were fully vaccinated.

While the total number of children hospitalized remains low and the proportion of hospitalizations among children remains stable, the number of children in each age group that were admitted to the hospital significantly increased over the past month. The largest rise was seen among children 0-4 years old, increasing from 4 hospital admissions for the week ending December 4th to 58 hospital admissions for the week ending January 1st. Increases were also seen for the 12-to-17-year-old age group, from 1 hospital admission to 16 hospital admissions, and for the 5-to-11-year-old age group, from 2 hospital admissions to 5 hospital admissions, comparing the week ending December 4th to the week ending January 1st.

“Our hearts remain with those families experiencing the sorrow of losing those they love to COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With surging transmission and rapidly rising cases and hospitalizations, our already understaffed health care providers are under enormous strain as they try to care for so many COVID infected people, including those with mild illness who are looking for help and support, with the unintended consequence of compromising response capacity across the entire system. Because high community transmission has the inevitable impact of increasing demand for health care services, the best way to protect health care personnel and our capacity to care for both those with COVID and non-COVID illness, is to double-down on reducing transmission.”

“While it is true that Omicron is much more infectious than previous COVID strains, there are many effective strategies available for reducing transmission risks over the next few weeks,” Ferrer continued. “At the top of the list is avoiding hazardous activities where people are unmasked and in close contact with others. Gatherings should also be postponed for a few weeks, especially if there are participants who are not fully vaccinated, and everyone cannot test before getting together. Lastly, upgrading masks to those that provide a better barrier against virus particles is a commonsense step that increases our own protection along with those around us.”

Today, Public Health confirmed 13 additional deaths and 43,582 new cases of COVID-19. Today’s number of cases and deaths reflect the weekend reporting delays. Of the 13 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 30 and 49, six were between the ages of 50-64, one was between the ages of 65-79, and five were over the age of 80 years old. Of the 13 newly reported deaths, nine had underlying conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 27,798.

Public Health has identified a total 2,010,964 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 21.4%.

There are 3,472 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 10,113,300 individuals, with 16% of people testing positive.

To keep workplaces and schools open, residents and workers are asked to:

Get tested to help reduce the spread, especially if you traveled for the holidays, have had a possible exposure, or have symptoms, or are gathering with people not in your household

Adhere to masking requirements when indoors or at crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status

Residents are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.

For updated isolation and quarantine guidance, please visitwww.publichealth.lacounty.gov

For information on where you can get tested, please visitwww.covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

To find a vaccination site near you, or to make an appointment, please visit:

visit:

www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) or www.VacunateLosAngeles.com(Spanish).

If you need assistance, you can also call 1-833-540-0473 for help:

Finding an appointment

Connect to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or

Schedule a home visit if you are homebound.

For more information regarding COVID-19 in LA County you can also visit the Public Health website at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov

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