Los Angeles County reported more than 16,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, in one of the highest daily case counts of the pandemic.
Reported cases have increased by 91% over the past week, jumping from 8,633 to 16,510 on Wednesday, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.
Additionally, test positivity rates have more than doubled from 8.7% to 17.6%, and daily hospitalizations have jumped over 30%, from 770 to 1,069, the department said.
As transmission of the delta and omicron variants surge, public health officials are urging residents to scale down New Year’s plans by limiting gatherings to a very small number of people, where everyone is fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible. Large, crowded events are just too risky this holiday, the department said.
“As we get ready to welcome the new year, this includes re-thinking party plans, limiting time indoors with non-household members, and isolating from others if feeling sick,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
As of Dec. 25., the omicron variant is estimated to account for 59% of all U.S. infections and delta for 41% of infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The figures are similar in L.A. County, with 54% of sequenced positive cases being the omicron variant in the week ending Dec. 18th.
Hospitalizations have also increased along with the test positivity rate, mirroring trends seen statewide. There are 1,069 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized Wednesday, compared with 770 patients reported a week earlier — that’s a 30% increase.
State officials have for weeks voiced concerns over California’s hospital capacity amid staffing shortages, warning that even a moderate surge in cases and hospitalizations could impact California’s health care delivery system.
Vaccinations and boosters remain the best protection against severe illness and disease from COVID-19, health officials reminded residents.
“With increasing evidence that vaccinated, and where eligible, boosted individuals have significant protection against severe COVID illness, the best way to limit heartache during one of the worst COVID surges, is to get vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible,” Ferrer said.
Individuals who are sick should remain isolated from others, and everyone should wear a mask, even when indoors, if gathering with people not from their household.
The Public Health Department also reminded residents that getting vaccinated or boosted remains critical, especially during holiday travels and gatherings. Additionally, the department urged all residents to continue getting tested to help reduce the spread and to adhere to masking requirements.
Residents are also reminded that they are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID-19 test result.