COVID, respiratory viruses on the rise in Los Angeles County

Over the past week in Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Health has marked increases in COVID-19 reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths. While recent increases are significant, they remain considerably below last winter’s peak and common-sense protections are strongly recommended to help curb transmission and severe illness as the new year begins.

Since last week, the reported daily average of COVID-19 cases has increased by more than 25 percent, from 495 to 621. This number is an undercount due to the large number of home test results for COVID-19 that are not reported to Public Health. The daily average of COVID-positive hospitalizations increased by nearly 15 percent over the same time period, from 604 to 686, and the Hospital Admission Level for the county, reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increased from 6.5 to 8.3 new COVID-19 hospitalization admissions per 100,000 people for data through Dec. 16. Sadly, there has also been an appreciable increase in the daily average deaths due to COVID-19. This week Public Health is reporting a daily average of 5 deaths, an increase from 2 earlier this month on Dec. 6.

To help stem the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, residents should prioritize common-sense precautions to protect themselves and others. Stay home if you are sick and test if you have symptoms or were exposed to COVID-19, especially when visiting with people who are more vulnerable to severe illness due to age or underlying health conditions. Wash your hands often and a well-fitted, high-quality mask can help protect against transmission in crowded indoor spaces, including airports, train stations or places with poor ventilation.

If Los Angeles County residents have questions about COVID-19, flu or RSV, including where to get vaccinated and how or when to test for COVID-19, the Public Health InfoLine is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, with the exception of Jan. 1, at 1-833-540-0473. n

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