As omicron variant drives spike in COVID-19 infections, L.A. County hits record weekly case numbers

Coronavirus

As the omicron coronavirus variant continues to drive a steep rise in new COVID-19 infections across California, Los Angeles County reached a record of new infections, officials said.

The county on Saturday reported more than 200,000 confirmed cases over the previous seven days — the highest number of cases in one week since the start of the pandemic, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Hospitalizations have also doubled in one week to 3,200 people hospitalized, the department stated.

With infections rising across the Golden State, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday announced a proposed $2.7 billion Emergency Response Package to get the surge under control, including expanded testing and vaccination efforts, supporting frontline workers and battling misinformation, his office said in a news release

Newsom is also expected to ask state legislators to help craft new COVID sick pay rules for residents. The law would be similar to state-mandated coverage that expired last fall, requiring businesses with 26 or more workers to offer up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for employees to care for themselves or a family member.

Meanwhile, public health officials are urging residents to wear medical-grade masks to protect against the omicron variant.

“As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Saturday. “This includes wearing a medical grade mask that is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time around others who are unmasked.”

As of Saturday, there were 34,448 new COVID-19 cases in L.A. County, bringing the total caseload to 1,921,890 cases since the pandemic began. 

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