COVID cases in Los Angeles County have increased almost 10-fold in 1 month

People line up to get free Covid tests in Los Angeles.

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials say positive cases of COVID-19 at los angeles county have increased almost 10 times in a month.

According to the county Public Health Department, 31,108 new COVID cases were reported on Wednesday. In mid-December, the daily number was approaching 3,300.

According to state figures, there were 4,564 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Monday, up slightly from 4,507 on Sunday. The number of those patients in intensive care was 621, down slightly from 622 the day before.

A month ago, there were only 772 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals. The rapid increase has been attributed to the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Yes is there any positive sign that the current surge in cases could soon subside is in the average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus. That percentage has been falling slightly over the past week, reaching 16.5% on Monday, down from 17.2% on Sunday. The rate exceeded 20% a week ago.

But nevertheless, health officials noted that even at 16.5%, the rate is still eight times higher than the 2% test positivity rate a month ago.

On Monday, the county public health director, Barbara Ferrer, acknowledged during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday that a disparity in coronavirus infections and deaths among minorities continues.

“As Reverend King memorably said, of all forms of inequality, health injustice is the most shocking and inhumane because it often results in physical death,” Ferrer said it’s a statement. “Tragically, we have seen this in real life and very clearly in the last two years with the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color. Since the start of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and across the country.”

Health officials have been raising concerns about the current surge in cases affecting a hospital system that is already overwhelmed by staffing shortages, further exacerbated by COVID infections among health professionals, preventing them from to work.

For this reason, they continue urging people to avoid going to an emergency room unless absolutely necessary, and ask them not to visit a hospital emergency room to get tested for COVID.

Ferrer made a call to the residents: get vaccinated and get booster shots; wear improved masks such as the N95, KN95, or KF94 varieties; and get tested for COVID when they need to, saying the county dramatically expanded testing availability after a shortage two weeks ago that led to long lines at some centers.

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