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New COVID Cases In LA County Top 20K, Rise In Hospitalizations Is Far Less Steep

A graph shows a rising and falling pattern of covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The most recent data shows a sharp uptick in new cases and a significantly smaller rise in hospitalizations.
(Courtesy Los Angeles County)
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COVID-19 infections are "exploding" in Los Angeles County with more than 20,000 new cases reported Thursday.

It's one of the highest daily case counts of the pandemic.

"We are in fact experiencing the worst of the surge at the moment with the rising number of cases," said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Hospitalizations topped 1,300 for the first time in months.

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Ferrer said cases and hospitalizations are likely to keep going up for "weeks to come."

Meanwhile, demand for first-dose and booster shots has dropped. That may be due, in part, to the holidays.

Bar graph of number of vaccine doses administered weekly between December 2020 and December 2021 where there was a peak of doses from March to May of 2020 and a smaller peak between October and December of 2021 which included booster doses.
(Courtesy Los Angeles County)

The state is expected to update quarantine and isolation guidance. Ferrer says L.A. County will follow the changes, which are stricter in some areas than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent shortening.

A key difference: L.A. County is requiring a negative test on day 5 before exiting isolation and quarantine for asymptomatic people, or those with improving symptoms without a fever. The updated CDC guidance, which cut the time period in half from 10 days to 5, doesn't include a testing directive.

Upon leaving quarantine or isolation, the county is requiring asymptomatic people to wear a surgical or respirator mask around others — even when they're outdoors.

For people who've been in close contact with someone positive, the county is directing them to quarantine for at least five days if they're eligible to get boosted and haven't yet, or if they're unvaccinated.

A slide showing multiple requirements for negative testing and directions on the types of masks asymptomatic people are required to use. The slide directs people to use a medical-grade mask when leaving isolation or quantine indoors and outdoors. It also requires "unvaccinated, or eligible and not yet boosted" people to quarantine for five days.
Courtesy Los Angeles County
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