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LA County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Drop For Second Straight Day

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Despite Los Angeles County reporting it's highest number of positive COVID-19 cases since August on Friday, they also reported on Saturday that for the second straight day, the number of patients hospitalized with the virus has dropped.

With 3,360 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 deaths reported on Friday, the county outlook was bleak. But for the second day in-a-row, the number of patients both hospitalized and in intensive care units has dropped.

Saturday's report from the Los Angeles County Department of Health revealed 3,730 new cases and 21 additional deaths. It was the second day in a row that over 3,000 cases and 20 deaths were reported.

Hospitalized patients dropped from 749 to 742 on Saturday, while patients in ICU dropped from 182 to 180.

On top of the 3,360 new cases reported, L.A. County Department of Health also reported the location of eight additional cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, bringing county totals over 30.

This comes despite a stricter set of rules initiated on Wednesday, including a statewide mask mandate for all indoor activities and new rules for those attending "mega-events."

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, issued a statement on the new Omicron variant and the very immediate future of the virus: "Based on the data collected to date, we anticipate that Omicron will circulate more widely in L.A. County in the very near future, leading to many more cases over a short period of time, particularly given increased gatherings with travel over the winter holiday."

She continued to indicate that both unvaccinated and vaccinated people face a risk with the projected fifth surge of the Coronavirus pandemic, "Unvaccinated individuals appear to remain at the highest risk, but all the evidence to date indicates that those fully vaccinated are also at increased risk, particularly for getting infected and infecting others."

While the Omicron variant has been deemed a "variant of concern" by both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, it is well-known amongst medical professionals that the Delta variant is still the main variant present in the recent surge of positive cases.

The main concerns coming from healthcare experts are the looming fifth surge of the pandemic, credited mainly to the winter season and the holidays. It is suggested that while the nation is in a better place than it was at this point last year, understaffed hospitals and lack of space for the coming surge is cause for concern.

On Friday, both Riverside County and Orange County reported their first findings of the Omicron variant, while a federal appeals court granted President Joe Biden the go-ahead with his vaccine mandate for larger private employers.

Coronavirus's sudden resurgence in Los Angeles over the last weeks has had a drastic affect on the sports and entertainment worlds with the Los Angeles Rams Sunday game postponed until Tuesday following a team breakout that saw 29 different players added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Anaheim Ducks had their Tuesday game against the Calgary Flames postponed indefinitely while the Flames go through their own breakout.

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves severely shorthanded, as the vast majority of their team has spent time on the list over recent weeks, including superstars LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

UCLA Men's Basketball cancelled three games over the span of a week due to a team outbreak, beginning with head coach Mick Cronin.

A popular Los Angeles attraction for the holidays, Ahmanson Center saw several "A Christmas Carol" performances cancelled due to the location of multiple "breakthrough cases" within The Center Theatre Group company.

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

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