LA County COVID cases nearly double in one day, county urges limited New Year's celebrations

LA County Public Health announced more than 16,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, nearly double the total from the previous day. In addition to the rising case numbers, both test positivity rate and hospitalizations have jumped dramatically over the past week. 

One of the major drivers of the spike is the new Omicron coronavirus variant, which according to Public Health, accounted for more than half of the positive cases sequenced in LA County last week.

With all of these numbers taken into account, Public Health is urging Angelenos to rethink their New Year's plans.

"Public Health urges residents to scale down New Year’s plans by limiting gatherings to a very small number of people where everyone is fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible," the department said in a press release Wednesday. "Large, crowded events are just too risky this holiday."

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, LA County has reported nearly 1.7 million COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, California became the first and as-of-yet only state to pass the 5 million case mark.

"I send my heartfelt condolences to everyone mourning the loss of a loved one to COVID-19," Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a press release. "As cases continue to rise, it is important that we all use the tools available to help us curb the spread. As we get ready to welcome the new year, this includes re-thinking party plans, limiting time indoors with non-household members, and isolating from others if feeling sick."

Dr. Ferrer maintains that getting vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible is the best way to maximize protection against the virus. 

More than 1,200 people were admitted to the hospital due to COVID Wednesday, while 25 more died.

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