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LA County COVID Cases Up 40% From Last Week; Health Officials Point To Variants

A man walks by in the background in front of a McDonald's storefront as a van with the words "COVID-19 mobile fleet" is parked on the right.
A man approaches a van from a COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinic hosted by McDonald's and the California Department of the Public Health on Sept. 21, 2021 in Los Angeles.
(Frederic J. Brown
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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It's certainly not a surge, but coronavirus transmission is on the rise — again — in Los Angeles County.

Officials say the daily average of new, reported cases has increased by nearly 40% in just the past week alone, and nearly tripled compared to a month ago.

They're blaming the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant — plus the emergence of a new Omicron descendent that scientists are calling BA.2.12.1.

That subvariant now accounts for about 7% of confirmed cases in L.A. County.

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A graphic shows colored lines going higher on a chart to depict a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
(Courtesy L.A. County )

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer says that while the numbers are still a far lower than what we saw during this winter's Omicron wave, the increase in transmission is still a concern.

"Is there a second surge on the horizon? I hope not," she said. "We're seeing an increase in cases that's pretty significant. We started to see a small increase in hospitalizations."

Ferrer notes the number of COVID-positive patients in local hospitals is still relatively low. Cases are going up as restrictions have eased — and in the wake of spring break and holidays. She added she hopes the increase "stabilizes fairly soon without going much higher."

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