LA County posts 40,000-plus more COVID cases; Hospital number rises again

Another 40,000-plus cases of COVID-19 were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday, Jan. 14, as the easily transmitted omicron variant of the virus continued to make its impact felt, particularly in hospitals, where patient numbers continue to rise.

According to state figures, there were 4,257 COVID-positive people in county hospitals as of Friday, up from 4,175 on Thursday. A total of 600 of those patients were being treated in intensive care, up from 586 a day earlier.

County Department of Public Health officials said the 600 patients represents nearly 25% of all ICU patients in the county, topping the rate seen during the recent COVID infection surge caused by the previous Delta variant. During that summer surge, COVID patients only represented 20% of overall ICU patients.

As of Friday, more than 80% of all adult ICU beds in the county were occupied, according to the county.

Overall COVID patient numbers are still well below those seen last winter, when the number topped 8,000, but hospitals are still becoming strained due to severe staffing another other issues that limit the capacity of medical centers to expand their patient space the way they did a year ago.

Health officials again urged residents to avoid going to emergency rooms unless absolutely necessary, and not go to the ER to get tested for COVID.

“As omicron surges across L.A. County, there are mounting challenges and frustrations affecting so many,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “The enormous strain experienced by our health care personnel can be alleviated by reducing the transmission of the virus so that less people are seeking medical care.

“And while it may feel like there isn’t much we can do to keep ourselves and others from getting infected, and that it isn’t a big deal to get infected, neither are an accurate assessment of the current situation,” she said. “Avoiding non-essential activities where the risk for transmission is high because people are crowded together indoors and unmasked will reduce your exposures. Wearing a high grade and well-fitting mask will block COVID virus particles. And given that unvaccinated people are between two and four times more likely to get infected than those vaccinated, getting vaccinated and boosted will lead to less spread.

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“With thousands of people seriously ill with COVID and deaths increasing daily, it is too risky for too many people to not continue to take precautions and make strategic decisions to minimize community transmission.”

The county reported 48 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday, raising the overall death toll from the virus to 27,942 since the pandemic began.

The 40,535 new infections announced Friday lifted the county’s overall case total from throughout the pandemic to 2,172,008.

The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 19% as of Friday.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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