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