LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - As cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surge across the country, California health officials said Tuesday they expect more cases in Los Angeles in the coming days and are urging residents to be vigilant as the New Year's Eve holiday approaches.
During the last week, there has been a surge in pediatric hospital stays in the United States. The rate of children going to the hospital has risen by 35 percent, health officials said.
One Chicago hospital said cases are three times as high as they were last December. In Cleveland, Ohio, an infection control expert at a children's hospital said one life-saving treatment they use regularly is in short supply.
Local officials are taking action by stepping up testing this week with multiple sites for families to go to for resources.
"Omicron is extremely contagious," said Katrina Foley of the Orange County Supervisors. "We're trying to do everything we can to give people the tools they need like testing kits and vaccination boosters."
Families in Orange County kept the sites busy Tuesday picking up rapid test kits.
On Monday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced a change in the recommended isolation time for both people who test positive with COVID-19 and people who come in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
The recommended quarantine time has been cut in half, from 10 days to 5.
Based on new findings, the CDC reported evidence that supports that people who have Coronavirus – any of the variants – are most immediately contagious for the two days before, and the three days after they come down with symptoms.
This may also come due to the fact that the Omicron variant, now the driving variant in the world, is less symptomatic and virulent, and in many cases asymptomatic altogether.
CDC Director Rachel Walensky warned of a potentially massive spike in positive COVID-19 cases following Christmas.
"The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC's updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather."
With numbers on a steady rise throughout the nation, dozens of live events, sporting events and holiday celebrations have been canceled over recent weeks. Health experts suggest that those numbers are just the beginning of what may be the largest case numbers we've seen throughout the entire course of the pandemic.
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