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LA County Reports More Than 8k New COVID Cases

A health care worker in a blue plastic gown and face mask and shield swabs the not of a person in a ball cap.
A medical assistant administers a coronavirus test in Los Angeles.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images )
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Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 surge is picking up speed. New cases topped 8,600 on Thursday, a daily total not seen since last winter's devastating surge.

Hospitalizations remain relatively steady at 801, compared to 667 two weeks ago.

“These numbers make it crystal clear that we're headed into a very challenging time over the holiday,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director. “If our case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace over this week, and next, we could be looking at case numbers we have never seen before.”

Despite what she describes as a “staggeringly fast” increase in cases, Ferrer said there are no plans to implement another lockdown. The county is relying on masking, testing, vaccinations and boosters to try to prevent another overwhelming wave of COVID hospitalizations.

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Holiday gatherings could be a deciding factor. Cases in the county started to go up after Thanksgiving.

“I think if we can all do this, you know, all of us every single person, commit to celebrating with as much safety as possible, which may mean you're changing up some of your plans, we could be okay,” said Ferrer. “We're going to see high cases. No matter what, the case numbers are going to go up. But we might be able to manage these case numbers in a way that doesn't end up stressing out our health care system and prevents most people from experiencing severe illness.”

Ferrer said omicron poses a low risk of severe illness for people who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

If you’re gathering this week, here’s how to get a COVID-19 test in L.A. beforehand.

What questions do you have about the coronavirus and/or how it’s affecting your life in Southern California?