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Los Angeles County set a new single-day record Thursday for the number of COVID-19 cases reported, but health officials are hopeful the surge will ease come February.

With 37,215 new cases reported, the County reached its highest single-day level since the start of the pandemic, according to public health officials.

Close contact during holiday gatherings, especially among the unvaccinated, is suspected of contributing to the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Along with the high number of new cases came increased hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, 2,661 people with COVID-19 were currently hospitalized, according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health website.

Although the number is not as high as the peak of last winter’s surge, it is continuing to grow.

Health officials say many of the patients are finding out they have COVID-19 after arriving at the hospital.

In fact, more than half of the COVID-positive patients were in the hospital for treatment of other illnesses, according to the website.

The surge also has led to hourslong waits for people lining up for COVID tests.

“I couldn’t find a rapid test anywhere,” Michael Hollingsworth said as he waited in a long line at a testing center in San Fernando.

More information on COVID-19 testing services and locations can be found on the County’s website.

Several UC schools, including UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego have pushed back the start of classes to Jan. 31, in hopes of slowing the spread.

Experts continue to say that being vaccinated and boosted is still the best way to protect yourself.

“Vaccinated and boosted individuals were almost 4 times less likely to get infected and 38 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who were unvaccinated,” the Public Health website stated.

Health officials, including L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, are hopeful the surge will subside in February.

“My hope is that, you know, by the time we get to February, we’re on the downside of seeing that massive amount of community transmission,” Ferrer said.