Flu, respiratory and COVID-19 infections on the rise across Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County has seen a notable increase in respiratory illnesses and COVID-19 cases over the past week, according to health officials.

"We see it a lot in the wintertime because we're nearby. We're indoors, we're having holidays where lots of people travel and gather," said Providence St. Joseph Medical Center ER Doctor Angelique Campen, "So it makes for the perfect storm of viruses to spread."

According to LA County Health, there has been a 25% increase in COVID cases over the last week. While significant, officials say that these numbers remain considerably below last winter's peak.

"The ERs are really busy. We're seeing a fair amount of COVID," said Dr. Matthew Waxman, a professor of emergency medicine at UCLA. "The dominant one now is the JN.1 strain which is not causing a ton of hospitalizations in normal healthy people but, it's making people sick."

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And children are experiencing this spike in sickness too. While not infected with COVID-19, 5-month-old baby Elijah Adaimy is sick with a respiratory virus.

"He started with the runny nose. And, then by Saturday it was the cough and congestion so we've been kind of dealing with that," said his mother, Kristine Adaimy.

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To help curb the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, health officials recommend prioritizing common-sense precautions, like staying home if you're sick, testing for COVID-19, washing your hands and wearing a mask in crowded, indoor areas.

But if you do need medical attention, Dr. Campen offers this advice.

"Rather than get yourself up out of bed and into the ER where you're likely to wait for many hours because of these high volumes," said Dr. Campen, "If you feel you need medical help you may want to start at an Urgent Care."