Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials are urging residents to reconsider New Year’s Eve plans as the county’s dramatic surge continues with more than 20,000 daily cases reported Thursday.
Thursday’s figure is nearly 4,000 more cases than reported the day prior, more than double the cases reported last Thursday and six times that reported Tuesday, Dec. 21, per Public Health data.
L.A. County’s test positivity rate has also increased to 21%, meaning that a fifth of people who are tested are returning positive, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“We are, in fact, experiencing the worst of a surge at the moment with the rising number of cases,” Ferrer said. “And while hospitalizations thankfully remain significantly lower than what we experienced last winter, we do need to closely monitor the impact of the very recent explosion in cases on our health care facilities.”
Case rates rose highest and fastest among adults ages 18-49, and they comprise nearly 70% of all the new cases reported for the week ending Dec. 28, according to Ferrer, who said those in this age group are fueling the surge.
“These dynamics likely reflect the reality that adults 18 to 49 are intermingling the most,” Ferrer added. “Many times, this is by necessity, as many of the people in this age group are important members of our labor force. And, these are also folks that are very likely to be out and about for recreation, increasing their risk of exposures, especially if they have expansive social networks.”
Ferrer continued to urge residents to use the tools available to stop the spread, which includes getting vaccinated and boosted, as well as wearing masks and getting tested.
“Vaccines continue to offer an extraordinary level of protection against hospitalizations and against the worst of all outcomes: passing away,” Ferrer added.
Public Health is also set to align its health officer order’s isolation and quarantine protocols with the state.
Individuals exiting isolation or quarantine after five days are required to have a negative test on day five and either be asymptomatic or fever-free with symptoms improved.
These individuals should wear medical-grade masks around others, both indoors and outdoors, for the next five days.
Those who are exposed and are either unvaccinated or have not yet received their booster are still required to quarantine for a minimum of five days.
Ferrer continued to urge residents to celebrate New Year’s safely, keeping gatherings small, and when possible, gathering outside, with those in your immediate social networks and with those who are fully vaccinated or boosted.
All COVID-19 services are free to L.A. County residents and can be accessed by anyone regardless of insurance or immigration status. To find a COVID-19 vaccine site near you, visit VaccinateLACounty.com, or to find a testing site, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday:
Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 20,198
Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,669,545
New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 24
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 27,625
Hospitalizations countywide: 1,251
Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Dec. 28: 29, with 1,710 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 429, 325 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.
Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 43,225
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Dec. 29: 375
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of Dec. 23: 78.6%
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of Dec. 23: 75.1%