Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported an “alarming” spike in the region’s coronavirus test positivity rate and increasing hospitalization numbers.
The county’s seven-day average daily positivity rate stood at 14.5% Tuesday, up from 4.7% one week before and 1.4% the week before that, on Dec. 14.
“Most alarming is the increase in test positivity which has more than tripled since mid-December, indicating surging transmission across the county,” L.A. County’s health department said in a news release.
Hospitalizations have also increased along with the test positivity rate, mirroring trends seen statewide.
There were 966 people hospitalized for COVID-19 across L.A. County Tuesday, compared with 741 patients reported a week earlier.
That means hospitalizations have increased by 30% since last Tuesday.
The new winter surge comes as the new, highly-transmissible omicron coronavirus variant spreads across the state.
Officials said that while the hope is that omicron symptoms are milder, the current increase in hospitalization numbers is still “a cause for concern.”
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.
L.A. County’s current rise in hospitalization numbers follows a stark increase in infections seen last week.
Since before the Christmas holiday, L.A. County has been reporting thousands more cases than usual every day.
On Tuesday, 9,473 coronavirus cases were reported in L.A. County.
“As we approach the new year, with the staggering reality that over 27,000 LA County residents have lost their lives to COVID-19,” L.A. County health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
“And while we all wish that 2022 would begin without the continued tragedy of serious illness and death associated with COVID, we are instead facing the prospect of an alarming surge that requires every person to act with intentionality: get vaccinated and boosted, get tested, and please, always wear a mask around others,” she added.