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'Fast Rise' Of More Than 6K New COVID Cases In LA County Reported Overnight

A chart showing new COVID cases in L.A. County since Oct. 1 shows a massive increase in recent days.
(Courtesy L.A. County Public Health)
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Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported a dramatic rise in new COVID cases. The startling new number, 6,509, comes after four consecutive days of 3,000+ cases. That already marked the highest case numbers in many months.

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County's public health director, calls it a "staggeringly fast rise" in cases. The good news is hospitalizations are not spiking — yet. Ferrer also cautioned that at this rate, we could see new daily cases of 20,000 or more by the end of the year.

While omicron cases made up more that 70% of new cases in the U.S. last week, they remain relatively rare in L.A. County. On Wednesday, 162 omicron cases were reported bringing the total to 264. The omicron variant is know to be significantly more contagious than delta, which is obvious cause for concern.

Will Businesses Have To Face Closures?

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One major question: Will L.A. County return to stricter restrictions?

"With a variant such as omicron," Ferrer said "...every single option has to be on the table." She said it remains critical for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted and to mask indoors always and outdoors in crowded spaces.

That, she said, offers the best path to "manage these cases numbers in a way that doesn't end up stressing out our healthcare system."

New COVID Cases In Orange County

Meanwhile, Orange County is also reporting significantly higher cases, with 1,057 reported on Wednesday, a more than 50% jump from the previous day.

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Unvaccinated And Vaccinated

The case rate per 100,000 persons in L.A. County since June 2021 is shown based on vaccination status: unvaccinated, fully vaccinated without booster and fully vaccinated with booster. Unvaccinated case rates are as many as nearly 10 times higher.
(Courtesy L.A. County Public Health)

Case rates for unvaccinated people remain significantly higher than for those who are fully vaccinated, with even lower rates for individuals who also have a booster.

That said, increasingly numbers of breakthrough cases are expected. Health officials have stressed that COVID in vaccinated individuals is often mild. Like with flu vaccines, COVID vaccinations do not offer full protection against the virus but they do mitigate its effects.

The continued surge in local cases comes the day after President Biden implored more people to get vaccinated and announced plans to quickly expand testing capacity. He also said that the government plans to buy a half-billion at-home COVID test kits. Those kits will be mailed to people who want them, starting next month.

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He also urged people to get tested, advising that the search "COVID test near me" in Google will guide you to testing locations. All L.A. County and city testing sites offer free coronavirus testing, whether you have insurance or not, and regardless of immigration status.

What questions do you have about vaccines?