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COVID Hospitalizations Continue To Rise In LA County As Concern Grows Over Winter Surge

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Coronavirus hospitalizations in Los Angeles County continue to climb as concern grows over a winter surge in cases, perhaps buoyed by the Omicron variant.

California Imposes Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: People wear face coverings inside Grand Central Market on December 15, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. California residents, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, are required to wear face masks in all indoor public settings beginning today in response to rising coronavirus case numbers and the omicron threat. The statewide mandate will be in effect through January 15, 2022. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The latest numbers from the California Department of Public Health Wednesday showed there were 770 coronavirus patients hospitalized in L.A. County, up about 100 from a week ago, and up roughly 200 from late November.

Of those, 179 were being treated in intensive care, down from 184 on Tuesday.

Another 19 COVID deaths were reported by L.A. County on Wednesday, giving the county an overall virus-related death toll of 27,369.

L.A. County also confirmed another 1,850 new COVID infections. The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus remained relatively low, at 1.2%.

Meanwhile, in Orange County, coronavirus hospitalizations increased to 206 Wednesday, the first time that it has crossed the 200-mark in a month. Of those hospitalized, 87% are unvaccinated.

Health officials have been pointing to a post-Thanksgiving uptick in infections and case rates. On Wednesday, California reimposed a statewide indoor mask-wearing mandate. L.A. County already had such a mandate in place, but the rule will force people in neighboring counties such as Orange and Riverside to mask up, although it was unclear if those counties would enforce the rule.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week the trend in COVID numbers marked what could be the onset of a winter surge in cases, and she has urged more people to get vaccinated or receive booster shots.

As of last week, 83% of Los Angeles County residents aged 12 and over had received at least one dose of vaccine, and 75% were fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, L.A. County has now confirmed 18 cases of the Omicron variant. The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, but it has quickly spread to dozens of countries worldwide. Health officials have thus far said current vaccinations appear to be effective against the variant.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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