505 LAPD, 299 LAFD employees currently out of action due to COVID-19

Los Angeles' police and fire departments are experiencing a wave of staffing issues amid the latest surge in coronavirus cases, with hundreds of offices and firefighters off-duty in each department, officials said Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Fire Department had 299 personnel out of action Thursday due to positive COVID-19 tests, the highest number reported by the department during the pandemic so far, officials said in a press conference. That number was up from 284 out Wednesday.

The previous high was on Jan. 1, 2021, when 209 employees tested positive for the virus. The department has a total of 3,246 uniformed fire personnel and 353 civilian employees, according to its website.

An additional 41 members of the department are on unpaid leave for not complying with the city's COVID-19 vaccination mandate, which required that city employees get vaccinated against the virus by Dec. 18 or file a religious or medical exemption. Chief Ralph Terrazas said Thursday that 374 LAFD personnel have requested an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

RELATED: Sick calls related to COVID-19 sideline more than 1,700 Los Angeles first responders

As a response to the large amount of personnel out due to COVID-19, the LAFD said it was "canceling all approved leaves until further notice."

Since the start of the pandemic, at least 1,475 LAFD firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a total of 505 Los Angeles Police Department employees were out of commission Thursday due to COVID-19, Chief Michel Moore reported.

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The LAPD said that despite the high levels of personnel off-duty, it is meeting staffing requirements throughout the city and its core services are not disrupted.

"The department is prepared to make adjustments to our staffing, including the reallocation of resources in the event it becomes needed, however, we are not at that point," an official in the LAPD's Media Relations Division said on Wednesday. "We continue to meet the demands needed and will ensure Angelenos public safety needs are met."

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3,700 LAPD personnel have contracted COVID-19, 11 fatally.

With the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 fueling the latest surge, Los Angeles County's case numbers have been skyrocketing over the past couple of weeks. The county reported nearly 45,000 new cases over the weekend, following a daily record high of 27,091 new infections on Friday.

The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals on Wednesday surged to 2,461, with 330 being treated in intensive care.

The hospitalization number is the highest it has been since last February. Due to rising patient numbers, the county Department of Public Health on Monday urged residents to avoid visiting hospital emergency rooms unless they urgently need emergency care.

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