Los Angeles County is once again beginning to see an increase in COVID-19 hospitalization numbers, prompting calls for residents to mask up while indoors.

The county has been seeing case numbers increase in recent weeks, fueled by the spread of the highly infectious BA.2 omicron subvariant.

Omicron has been showing up in all coronavirus cases sequenced in the county, with the BA.2 lineage and sub-lineages accounting for most of those specimens.

The average number of daily new cases reported over the last week was 2,944 — a notable 175% increase from the average of 1,071 cases reported one month ago, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

“With the proliferation of highly infectious sub-lineages of Omicron, it is easier for infected individuals to unknowingly pass along the virus, resulting in many of us experiencing more spread associated with our gatherings and travel,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

As seen previously in the pandemic, an increase in hospitalizations typically follows spikes in infections.

That’s what’s now happening in L.A. County, officials said.

The higher case numbers are beginning to translate to small increases in hospitalizations, with the average number of hospitalized cases per day climbing 14% in one month.

Over the last seven days, the average number of hospitalized cases per day was 288. One month ago, that number was 253.

The good news is that the number of COVID-19 deaths remains stable and has decreased from one month ago. Currently, L.A. County is averaging about six deaths reported per day.

“While it is reassuring to note the relatively low rates of hospitalizations and deaths, getting infected for many is still very risky and something to be avoided wherever possible,” Ferrer said.

The health director urged residents to layer on safety protections, including masking up indoors and while using public transport, getting tested and staying away from others when sick.

“This would give us a chance at slowing down spread while we continue to increase the numbers of residents and workers up to date with their vaccinations since vaccines give us the most protection from severe illness and death,” Ferrer said.