California COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations tick up amid winter warnings from health officials

California
Becky Gonzalez, left, visits longtime friend Mary Lou Samora, a 71-year-old COVID-19 patient, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Becky Gonzalez, left, visits longtime friend Mary Lou Samora, a 71-year-old COVID-19 patient, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The number of Californians being infected and hospitalized with COVID-19 has crept up over the last two weeks — increases that, though slight, may worsen as winter begins and the state contends with the continued spread of the Omicron variant.

Even with the recent upticks, both metrics remain well short of the devastating numbers from last winter’s surge, when explosive growth of the coronavirus ravaged the state. But the combination of current conditions and caution surrounding the weeks to come has already prompted officials to issue new health restrictions and organizers to cancel, postpone or recalibrate some sports contests and holiday events.

The result is a Christmastime that arrives with California not at the standstill seen last year, but at a crossroads — where residents aren’t being told what they can’t do, but implored to take all possible precautions.

“To prevent ourselves from getting in trouble over the holidays, we’re asking everyone to take a lot of caution as you gather and celebrate,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a recent briefing. “If we fail to take commonsense safety measures right now, we could find ourselves in a dangerous place by the end of the month and into January, which could dramatically impede our recovery journey.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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