Los Angeles County on Friday reported nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases as the omicron variant continued its rapid spread throughout California.
The county reported 9,988 new cases Friday, 8,633 on Thursday and 6,509 the day before.
Those numbers represent major, successive increases from the week before, when L.A. County’s daily case rates hovered closer to 2,000 cases.
On Wednesday, L.A. County’s health director said the spike in infection numbers represents one of the steepest rises the county has ever seen over the course of the pandemic.
“We can’t believe that we’re starting to see another huge, huge surge, right around holiday time,” health director Barbara Ferrer said in a Wednesday news conference.
She attributed the spikes to the increased circulation of the omicron coronavirus, and the rapid acceleration of transmission associated with the highly contagious new variant.
The county’s average seven-day daily positive rate stood at 9.6% Friday, up from 2.3% just six days prior.
L.A. County confirmed 162 new omicron cases Wednesday, another sharp rise over 60 reported Monday and 38 confirmed last Friday.
The first U.S. case of the variant was reported on Dec. 1 in San Francisco. Since then, the highly transmissible variant has spread throughout California amid an uptick in coronavirus infection and hospitalization numbers.
The variant is now evident in 50% to 70% of new coronavirus cases in parts of the state.
“We’re headed into a very challenging time over the holiday,” Ferrer said. “If our case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace over this week and next, we could be looking at case numbers we have never seen before, well over 20,000 cases a day by the end of this year.”
Statewide, infections, hospitalizations and deaths have largely been reported among unvaccinated populations, California state officials said.
Between Nov. 18 and Nov. 24, unvaccinated Californians were 14.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health said Friday.