California sees dramatic increase in COVID cases, hospitalizations as omicron spreads

Local news

An explosion of new coronavirus cases fueled by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant has triggered a sharp uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations across California, prompting renewed warnings and calls for caution from public health officials.

Over the weeklong period ending Sunday, California reported an average of 11,914 new coronavirus cases per day — a 73% jump from two weeks ago, according to data compiled by The Times.

And that influx of infections is starting to take its toll on hospitals. There were 4,001 coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized statewide on Sunday, a nearly 14% increase in one week. COVID-19 hospitalizations haven’t been this high since early October.

The recent metrics “make it crystal clear that we are heading into very challenging times over the winter holidays,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

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