LA health authority warns of significant Covid rise

Los Angeles, May 24 The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has warned against a significant increase in Covid-19 metrics after more than 12,000 new cases were registered in the past three days.

According to the Department, the county, the largest in the US and home to over 10 million residents, reported 14 additional deaths on Monday, and 5,152, 4,750 and 2,476 new cases on May 21, 22 and 23, respectively, bringing the accumulative caseload to 2,942,149 and death toll to 32,086, reports Xinhua news agency.

For sequenced specimens collected in the week ending April 30, all positive cases were Omicron, and the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant, which is more transmissible than BA.2, the current predominant sub-variant in Los Angeles County, is becoming more common, the Department said.

“With increases across multiple Covid metrics, including cases, hospitalizations, outbreaks in high-risk settings, and the test positivity rate, layering in more protections is needed to reduce the risk of transmission and severe illness,” it said.

The average number of daily new cases reported over the last seven days increased to 3,843 compared to 1,436 reported one month ago, an increase of 168 per cent, and the seven-day average test positivity rate on Monday is 3 per cent, double from what it was a month ago, according to the Department.

Officials said the higher case numbers have translated to an increased number of people getting severely ill and needing to be hospitalised, as the average number of Covid-positive patients per day in Los Angeles County hospitals over the last seven days was 378, an increase of 72 percent from one month ago.

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said in the release that the numbers in the county are increasing across nearly all of the metrics reflecting “the reality of the dominance of highly infectious mutated variants”.

“To protect those who are most vulnerable, we need to take care of each other by creating barriers to the transmission of the virus; this happens when we are up-to-date on vaccinations and boosters, wear a mask when indoors and around others, and get tested to know our status if we feel sick, have been exposed, or are gathering indoors,” she added.

The county extended its mask-wearing requirement on public transit and at transportation hubs last weekend amid the latest coronavirus wave.

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